LOT ’S WIFE — EDITION FIVE —
No to $100,000 Degrees! No to Cutting Staff, Courses and TAFE! YES to more funding for our education!
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Angus Marian is an illustrator based in Melbourne, Australia, who specialises in cartoons and animation, as well as graphic design, typography and on occasion photography. Currently, Angus is studying his final year in Communication Design at Monash University Caulfield. angusmarian.com Instagram & Twitter - @akmarian
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C R E AT I V E 53
P rose : Voic e l e ss
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Timothy Newport Carina Florea Lisa Healy
D ES IG N
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ST U DE NT Tricia Ong
Jermaine Doh Rajat Lal S OCIE T Y
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Audrey El-Osta Sarah Kay Lot’s Wife Edition Five August- September 2016 © Lot’s Wife Magazine Level 1, Campus Centre Monash University Clayton, Victoria 3800 Published by Mary Giblin, Printgraphics, Mount Waverley As you read this paper you are on Aboriginal land. We at Lot’s Wife recognise the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung peoples of the Kulin Nations as the historical and rightful owners and custodians of the lands and waters on which this newspaper is produced. The land was stolen and sovereignty was never ceded. Lot’s Wife condemns and will not publish any material that is racist, sexist, queerphobic, ableist or discriminatory in any nature. The views expressed herein are those of the attributed writers and do not necessarily reﬂect the views of the editors or the MSA. All writing and artwork remains the property of the producers and must not be reproduced without their written consent.
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CARINA FLOREA Ideally, editorials are supposed to talk about things going on in the world and articles within the magazine. Somehow we’ve failed in that regard. Maybe one day we’ll get it. Then again, we’ve come so far that we may as well keep talking about everything but what’s actually in the magazine. And there is so much going on outside of our pretty little mag. The Olympics have come and gone, Papa Rich has come to Monash and Frank Ocean has disappointed us once again. So while we wait around for his album, here’s a saucy picture of Moleman, courtesy of Simpsons Shitposting.
L I S A H E A LY Well, hi. This has been quite an emotional semester and my penchant for white wine spritzers (WWS) doesn’t help to keep my emotions in check/the tears from falling (note: zero tears have actually fallen, but I will keep a log of when the first one decides to shed. I am also writing this whilst editing with Carina, both with a WWS in hand). You may be wondering how exactly it has been emotional. Well, firstly, my cat caught a small brown bird that I lovingly named Cinnamon. Cinnamon’s presence in my life was short but sweet. I’ve learnt what short-term love is like and that vets aren’t exactly the most tactful when it comes to delivery news of a stray bird’s death (R.I.P. Cinnamon). And secondly, the end of my time with Lot’s (and supplying you with too many anecdotes) is nigh. I’ve made sure to bring my shitty disposable camera in, to not only highlight my failed efforts with film photography, but to capture as many moments of us playing video games as possible. On a serious note, following on from Carina’s editorial - and trying to focus on the magazine and not on myself - we have some really important articles in this edition. The interview with Dr Biswa Banik (page 20) whose son is being discriminated against and may ultimately face deportation is a vital read and Kapil Bhargava’s article (page 13) calling on why we need a People of Colour Department on campus - and the systemic racism that pervades our society - is pertinent for the upcoming months. Enjoy the mag and cheers (please drink to that and remember to look the person in the eye otherwise that’s 8 years of bad sex for you, ha-ha).
TIMOTHY NEWPORT We meet again. It’s a tough time to be a student. Money is tight, jobs are scarce, and Pokémon GO is taking up all of your phone’s battery. It literally could not be worse. But it’s also an exciting time to be a Australian student! We’re getting a new library, a whole range of new food shops, and a new whatever-the-fuckthat-is down by the bus loop. So, perhaps, it’s not all bad. In this edition, we’ve got shitty stock photos (page 59), your ripper guide to Pokemon GO (page 48), and a serious dunk-tank of emotions about moving country (page 53). I’m so bloody proud. Semester 2 is always a bit of a mindfuck. Weird deadlines, the approach of summer, and a terribly-timed midsemester break means that you’ll probably spend half your time trying to remember where your own head is. So sit back, relax, and forget your troubles with Lot’s. Hopefully, by the time you finish reading this sentence, Grafali’s has finished making your chai latte and you’ve got the next hour for lunch in Papa Rich. Enjoy it. We’re nearly there.
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Woodside or Seaside? by E lyse Walton
n June, Monash announced a $10 million partnership with oil and gas giant, Woodside Petroleum. Monash claims that the partnership “aims to drive significant advances in the energy sector, bringing positive economic benefits to Australia”. However, some have criticized the partnership for various ethical and environmental reasons. In light of the Woodside Monash partnership, Woodside’s senior vice-president and chief technology officer, Shaun Gregory, stated that "our vision for our Monash centre is for us to rapidly advance commercial opportunities through materials engineering, additive manufacturing and data science… We are really excited about collaborating with researchers and experts from Monash to identify opportunities to solve real-life challenges we face at Woodside". This partnership began 135 kilometres northwest off the coast of Karratha, WA, at Woodside’s Goodwyn Alpha natural gas platform where the Monash centre assisted Woodside’s operations. During a maintenance shutdown, a vital safety switch had broken and panic ensued about the delay in production. The workers assumed that they would be waiting three weeks to receive the missing part and resume operations. “They needed it by the end of the week, so we reached out to the Monash team, a hand sketch of the part was drawn, emailed through, there were some questions and answers and the part was soon on a helicopter up to Goodwyn,” Mr Gregory said. Woodside’s gift of $10 million - the largest philanthropic donation in the history of Monash University - will be spent over the time period of 5 years and will be concentrated in the Woodside Innovation Centre, located in the New Horizons building, which is situated behind the Hargrave-Andrew Library. The centre was officially opened on June 15 by the Hon. Josh Frydenberg, who was the Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia at the time. Praising the partnership, Frydenberg, now Minister for the Environment and Energy, hailed it as “exactly the type of industry-academic collaboration we need to see more of in Australia”. Monash University Vice Chancellor, Margaret Gardner, was also present at the opening of the centre, claiming that Monash was, “very grateful,” to Woodside for their “generous contribution”. However, others have been far less supportive of the partnership. Secretary of the National Tertiary Education Union’s Victoria Branch, Colin Long, expressed concern about what it meant for Monash students: “In essence, Monash is
contributing to the further undermining of the futures of the young people that it is educating.” He elaborated that “it is disappointing that Monash continues to develop research initiatives with companies that are determined to exploit fossil fuels to the detriment of the climate and the world’s people... thus exacerbating the problem of carbon emissions and global warming.” He continues: “the longer universities continue to accept the dirty money of the fossil fuel industry, the longer they expose themselves to the financial, social and moral risks associated with that industry”. Electrical engineering student and Monash Student Association Welfare officer, Brendan Holmes, expressed similar concerns: “By endorsing Woodside, Monash University is sending the message to graduates that it’s okay to work for a company that is damaging to the environment. Engineering talent will be directed toward the fossil fuel industry, delaying the necessary shift towards clean, renewable energy.” In April, Monash announced that the university was going to cease all direct investments in coal companies over a five year period. This was hailed by non-for-profit organisations like 350.org as a step towards Monash University joining over 500 other institutions, representing $3.4 trillion globally, that have committed to sell their investments in coal, oil and gas companies Fossil Free Monash campaigner and Arts/Law student, Rhyss Wyllie, speculates about how the partnership has impacted Monash’s recent financial decisions: “This partnership reveals the vested interests at play in the recent decision by Monash to divest from coal companies but not utter a word about oil and gas”. “The ‘largest corporate’ gift in Monash’s history comes with a price tag – Monash’s continued profiteering from the industry that is destroying the climate and corrupting our political system,” Wyllie said. Join the fight to take action against and to help build awareness of the Monash Woodside partnership by joining the Fossil Free Monash Facebook http://facebook.com/ FossilFreeMonashUniversity or getting in contact via email at email@example.com
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IN TE R V I E W
Looking for buried treasure: in conversation with librarian Katalin Mindum by Rose Boyle
What is your academic background? Geography and environmental science is a passion of mine, even though I don't have an undergrad background in it. I have had that portfolio for around eight years. Film and screen is a portfolio I got a few years ago and politics and international relations very recently – a matter of weeks. I have an Arts degree from Monash Clayton and I majored in English and History. I did a Master of Librarianship, and I just never left. Monash is an awesome place. Could you tell me about your role as ‘sustainability representative’? I liaise with the sustainability office, and there’s been a huge culture change in favour of having a bit of a ‘holistic’ view of everything. Infrastructure gets done internally, such as LED and solar panels; but it’s my role to encourage people to recycle more, and we’ve got compost bins and little rubbish bins on desks now, which amazingly reduces the amount of rubbish people throw away. Just trying to get people to be more responsible and do things like recycle their paper, print less, and laminate less as it makes it hard to recycle. In regards to getting less physical books, and more online, is that to be more sustainable? It’s not really about sustainability, mostly it’s a storage issue. We’ve dramatically reduced what we get in paper. We’ve got about a million books just at the Matheson. Constantly growing, there comes a point where you have to get rid of old, worn out things. We have an e-preferred policy and it makes things a lot easier for students to access, out on the lawns, at home, in labs, etc. It’s not always cheaper, but it is more accessible, so that is a big factor. Our numbers are constantly increasing. We have something like 800 databases, and thousands of journals. Do you ever have the issue of not being able to find something for a student on the online library? All the time. Particularly with researchers and post grads, so we have document delivery – previously known as interlibrary loans – where we borrow from other libraries for students, and where we will buy resources for students and researchers. Not for undergrads, but we do for postgrads.
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You’re an academic librarian, how is that different from a “standard” librarian? How can you help different students across different disciplines? There is not a big difference - most public libraries have access to very similar databases as we do, you just have to be a member of your public library. It’s possibly more predictable - we don’t have people coming in asking, how do you tell the sex of a guinea pig? It is more about assignments and after a while, if you get several students from the same unit, we contact the unit coordinator to see if we can run a class to cover that with the students. That way it’s more efficient and helpful and other students don’t miss out. We also offer essay writing and note taking classes and presentations, which public libraries don’t offer. We’ve only had those services for around 5-6 years. You try and work to fill the student’s needs. A lot of students are just overwhelmed of the collections in the library - and people can be a bit scared of librarians and be scared of asking questions. What advice would you have for them? I went through my undergrad not approaching a librarian. You think you’re an adult and you feel stupid for asking, but from our point of view there are no dumb questions. Once you’ve been shown how to do something, you’ll know, then you won’t need to ask again! We wouldn’t do this if we didn’t like helping people. We’re always passionate about it, even if we’re a bit grumpy sometimes because we deal with things all day long. We tend to see mainly post grad and researchers [subject librarians] – the undergrads should go straight to the information point. If they can’t answer the question there, they will refer to the research and learning point where they can see one of us. The first ports of call are usually the catalogue, and then the library guides – which are available in a huge number of discipline areas. These may have unit specific information, special resources, course notes. Don’t be scared of the information point – that’s what they are there for! What’s beyond the online catalogue and the bottom few floors? Can anyone look at anything in the library? Anyone, even the general public can come in and use the
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collections and photocopy, although you have to be a staff or student to access databases. With the exception of the rare books collection, where you might have the Gutenberg bible which is 400-500 years old. We retrieve it for you especially in that case. We have comic books, Women’s Weekly issues, going back for decades which are classified as rare. What sort of different things are in the library collections? We have the biggest Jonathon Swift article collection in the southern hemisphere. Many colonial cookbooks, diaries, letters, correspondence, science fiction first editions and old volumes, such as a first edition of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World for instance. We do run exhibitions (online as well). Outside of rare books – a huge Asian collection, a huge music collection, and specialist collections, like the medical collection, which is not just books but old instruments and things that look like torture devices, or the odd skull that has been collected by someone. Other libraries have different collections – Peninsula, being education focused, they have some really cool displays of things teachers might take on rounds, like giant abacuses and skeletons. We support everything that is researched and taught here. It’s not just databases and books and journals, it’s immersing yourself into a certain discipline. How have academic libraries changed recently due to the Internet? Before the Internet, you’d tell the librarian what you wanted and they’d write a whole big search strategy, do it for you and give you a print out. You had cards – author, set, subject, title… typed up and filed in cabinets and that’s what we would use. The early internet was still very limited, we didn’t have many databases as most of them came on a floppy disk which you would have to load onto the computer. You wouldn’t have a computer at home, so you’d have to come in and look on the 2 or 3 computers that we had. Before Moodle there was Blackboard which was not as good, most course notes were paper based – now it’s a balance between not having enough information and having too much. One of the hardest things is to learn to search efficiently. We used to take people to reference books. Databases were paper based, and people would search through newspapers and microfilm. It now takes 5 minutes what would have taken you half a day back then.
RMIT. Then it’s just finding a job in an academic library. People do swap between school, public and academic libraries. People find a niche for themselves. There are also librarians who do indexing and cataloguing. I don’t have a geography degree but that hasn’t stopped me from being a geography librarian. You immerse yourself in the job. It’s people who love a challenge and the challenge of finding unusual things. When someone comes up and asks you for something, it’s because they don’t know how to find it. I’ve had an academic ask me about birds’ nest soup. Bird’s nest soup? A soup they make from special birds’ nests they harvest in Java and Indonesia. [Finding sources] it’s not always easy - you get challenges thrown up at you. We sometimes look at Wikipedia as our first resource, so we can use words and references for searching so we have an understanding of what it might be. Don’t reference it for your essays, but do use it for that purpose! The chase, the hunt of finding information, is that your favourite part of the job? That, and a combination of helping people, which sounds dorky, but it’s true. We won’t give you the answer but we’ll show you how to get there, as well as give guidance on referencing and writing, after all it has to look professional… although, for an open day a few years ago Monash had a house-sized billboard on Wellington Road with a typo… That got sent to the printers and no one noticed.
Is online or paper better, or both? It’s good to use both - there’s still an awful lot not available online. You do need to dig under the surface on paper or out in the field. You can’t download rock samples from a computer, and there is no single perfect book in so much for what you’re working on. How does one become an academic librarian or subject librarian? My path was that I did my undergrad, then a Masters' in librarianship, that gave me a foothold into a reference librarian position. I did a lot of casual work, some loans desk, some shelving and I landed this position by pure fluke. There’s not a lot of causual postions, but that is one way of doing it. I did the course here but they are also online and at other unis such as
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Traveling on a student budget by George Kopelis Illustration by Elsie Dusting
Choose your transport wisely When travelling across state or country borders in Europe or through the north-east of the United States, you might be stuck deciding whether to take the train or if you should fly instead. Sure, flying might save you a few hours, but in peak tourist seasons (when we uni students normally end up travelling) plane tickets will be more expensive than usual. Take the train and see some of the countries you’re journeying through. A three hour train ride from Paris to Amsterdam will set you back 135 Euros, but a flight with Air France can be upwards of 200 Euros. Eurorail offers some great rail passes if you plan on visiting as many European countries as you can. Budget airlines like Ryanair and JetBlue are great for long-haul travel, but take the train if you’ve got the time to spare. Keep in mind that trains will normally get you straight into the centre of a city, but an airport might be located far out of town. JFK Airport in New York City is anywhere from 20 to 90 minutes away from Times Square in Manhattan, so remember to add on the cost of a taxi or shuttle ride when flying. Speaking of taxis, speak to the locals when trying to arrange transport around a city. If they say taxis are too expensive, have a look at Uber’s pricing or just take a walk around. Keep your food budget in check Your spending on food can end up more than what you spend on accommodation, so it’s worth making good use of this. Take advantage of the free breakfast your hostel offers, and if there’s a fruit bowl around, always take something to have as a snack during the day. If you can’t find one, browse a local supermarket and stock up on food you can eat on the go. If you want to go to a fancy restaurant, that’s fine but remember lunch is normally quieter than dinner and prices will be lower accordingly. In the US, where portions are way too much for an ordinary person, don’t feel guilty about asking for a bag to take some leftover food back to your accommodation! Make use of TripAdvisor and any other app to find good food away from the touristy spots where prices are eye-wateringly high, and try to cut back on coffee when on holiday; caffeine is an expensive addiction and overseas coffee has nothing on Melbourne’s. Don’t buy food or drinks at airports either! Take an empty water bottle through airport customs, and try to wait for the free food on the plane or grab something before you head to the airport.
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Book accommodation ahead It’s exhilarating to wake up in a foreign country each day with no clue where you’ll be sleeping that night, but it’s also more expensive. Book a hostel dorm bed or an AirBnB ahead of time, especially if you are travelling in peak season. That way, you’ll have a greater range of room options available, and at a relatively lower price. Do your homework on your destination If you’re travelling somewhere like Japan where you’ll mostly be in urban areas with good Wifi connectivity, there’s no need to buy a local SIM Card; free message and phone apps will keep you in touch with friends and family. Also, exchange currency before you get to the airport for better rates. Remember that you might need different currencies with you – shopkeepers in even the fanciest parts of Istanbul frown upon the use of Euros. If you really want to get the most value out of your dollar, travel to E astern Europe or South East Asia rather than Western Europe, because prices are lower and the crowds aren’t as big. You’ll still have a great time, with the added bonus of having more money to spend on activities and nights out.
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At your own pace by Abdul Marian Illustration by Elizabeth Bridges
or some of you reading this, it may be your final semester at uni, for others it could be a glorious first year of many more to come. Alternatively, it could just be another year in the seemingly endless space of time you spend in the campus centre. To some, university is a place where you learn a lot more about yourself and you learn new skills. However, it can also be a place where you forget skills. I recently started doing an internship and realised that somewhere along the line I forgot how to wake up and arrive somewhere before 9am. This is something I had to painfully, but quickly, relearn. A lot of people like to describe uni life and partying as the things that make you falter in your studies. This is quite possibly true, but sometimes your studies can actually be the things that make you falter and forget about what comes next. Not to dwell on the obvious, but everybody’s experiences of university life are going to be different. There are some definite stereotypes and common experiences that we all share and can relate to. I remember walking around open days and information sessions, all those years ago, feeling excited but also overwhelmed at the expanse of knowledge available to me. For me, university presented a more relaxed and less structured learning environment than high school. With such an environment, it can often become easy for students to become preoccupied with the experience of university and forget about where it’s supposed to lead them. I definitely remember that the main focus of my last year in high school was just to make it to university. Although after actually getting to university, I didn’t feel equipped with the tools to ask myself; ‘What’s next?’ It didn’t take too many semesters at uni to forget what the end goal of my studies was, if I ever knew that in the first place. Perhaps your story is different; perhaps after getting into uni you created structures and foundations to not lose sight of your goal? Or maybe the follwing years were milestones on the path to the industry you already knew you wanted to get in? Or conversely, you embraced the unknown and open-ended nature of learning, allowing your experiences during your studies to shape and direct you? When thinking of universities as institutions to help us transition into either the industry or better people, we should consider what the tools necessary to approach that goal are. Universities give us the technical tools relevant to our specific disciplines; laboratory skills, proficiency over different formulas or familiarity with different social theories. Additionally, universities should also help us identify the industry we wish to be a part of, as well as the necessary tools and skill sets necessary to be employed in that area. Even soft-skills such as an ability to network and self-brand should be considered important tools. The naming and identification of these skills is important to our progress and is the first step in learning them
and becoming fluent in them. As we come to the end of the academic year we should consider the skills we have learnt over the year and compare them with the skills we require to reach our dream destination. If a problem with uni life is the lack of direction and structure, then the solution should be to provide that direction. As well as education, universities should also be facilitators for growth and development. While the educational material taught can be considered one such vehicle, universities should also provide space (mental or physical) for networking, material for development of character as well as opportunity to think about and act on future prospects. It’s this opportunity to think and ponder over our purpose and future that often gets sacrificed for late-night assignments, stressful projects and cramming hundreds of lectures over short periods of time. In an unfortunate irony, it’s this sacrificed opportunity to develop ones personal and occupational credentials that is most sorely needed after the assignments, cramming and exams. Of course, people may attend university for other reasons and career success is not always the end goal for some. One of my favourite tutors has begun teaching students in class to think beyond a career after university, as another stage in your journey. He asks students, ‘What message do you want to deliver?’ and ‘How do you want to change the world?’ I however think it’s these kinds of questions that firstly get students thinking beyond university but also build up their character. This piece comes out as I find myself approaching the end of what felt like an extremely long and seemingly endless period at university. After I finally found something I enjoyed spending time studying, I became frustrated and anxious that the knowledge I was struggling to acquire may not have any real applications in the future. As an Arts student it was hard describing to others and, more importantly, myself how I would actually implement what I had studied. To some extent the world outside of university is still a mystery, but at the same not a mystery that you can’t prepare for. An important question to ask yourself is, “what skills can I bring forward?” and not so much, “what skills are people looking from me?”. Some of the best things about the journey through university is the ability to take things at your own time, give life to new ideas or come back to old projects. Yet, we should also realise these things don’t exist in isolation and should be considered as steps along our pathway through life and not as individual goals themselves.
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MONASH PEOPLE OF COLOUR COLLECTIVE The Monash People of Colour Collective (MPOCC) represents an exciting new initiative to ﬁght against very real racism that continues to plague our society. The Collective will help form a new department within the Monash Student Association (MSA) that encourages cultural sharing, political activism and the involvement of a group in society that remains cursed due to racist political ﬁgures in the media, a growing sense of xenophobia in the streets and an inherent racism in our communities. Look forward to the facilitation of cultural festivals, employability seminars and an increased political representation of people of colour at Monash! To make sure this department becomes a reality, make sure you during this year’s student elections! facebook.com/monashpocc 99055493 firstname.lastname@example.org
VOTE YES ON THE REFERENDUM:
✓ Yes No
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To kill the mockingbirds: racism today and how we can fight it by Kapil Bhargava
dare you to tell me racism doesn’t exist in modern Australia. Not to start an argument with you, but rather so we can initiate a conversation about one of the most poignant and underestimated plagues upon our community. Racism is systemic in its oppression. Western standards of beauty, competence and superiority are perpetuated at every conceivable level of society. Go on and tell me that I am not judged based on the colour of my skin when society tells me, from the moment I step foot in my very first classroom as a young child of Australia, that I should hate the pigments in my skin cells and lament in my inevitable social isolation. One of my earliest memories in school was being told by a ‘“friend’” that he was glad he didn’t have “brown skin and black hair” like me, that I should just know by now that Indians are not generally as good looking as white people. And what really made me sad was seeing other kids forced on a day to day basis to defend their beliefs, defend their right to wear a headdress, defend their religion against a tirade of intrusive questions. An eightyear-old shouldn’t have to defend the grand belief systems of ancient India or the ideologies of their family when all they want is to be accepted by their classmates. When I say society is racist, I refer to its norms and values that lie corrupt and inherent within our subconscious. That is not to say that every individual is a racist. That is preposterous. Rather, these norms – beauty standards and misconceptions about cultures and ideologies – lie within our day to day notions of ‘normality’. Without realising, we propagate micro aggressions, racist slurs, and oppressive language without even knowing it. Where are you from? No, where are you actually from? As if to suggest that the subject of the question is somehow ‘other’, a foreigner… not Australian. When I look at you, I don’t see colour. We are all part of the human race. This merely articulates a subconscious assimilation to the dominant culture, a denial of each individual as a cultural being, dismissing generations of colour, music, festivities, religions, beliefs ideologies and suffering. But even on a more macro level, the Pauline Hanson show’s re-run, along with the global increasing of xenophobic fear mongering and neo-conservative political pundits reflect a society that feels like it’s leaving people of colour behind. One Nation’s four senate seats in the most recent election represents not only a failure by people of colour to advocate for sanity and racial equality for all publicly, but also a failure by political leaders who inhabit privileged positions of power to
starkly stand up against this political regression. Something must be done to combat these attacks on our community and protect the sanctity of the civil society we all want to live and breathe in. All of us. I’m not here to make excuses. We are here to make change. The creation of a People of Colour Collective as an autonomous department within the Monash student union is a fantastic way of giving a voice back to this community. The department would constitute a mandate to develop cultural activities on campus, fight against any racism present on campus and increase political representation of a community that is severely unrepresented in the broader political movement. The only way to finalise the People of Colour department will be with a YES vote in a referendum in the upcoming student elections. Come out and vote, support a positive historical step at Monash University! I cannot stress this enough. A referendum is the only way a new department can be set up at Monash. There is a lot of interest, however we just need to prove it to the university. We demand to see this change. Vote YES in the referendum. Now I know what some of you might be thinking. Isn’t this just another form of alienation? Aren’t you just excluding a large majority of the university populace? The simple answer is no. The nature of micro and macro aggressions drive people of colour to isolation. When people of colour begin changing their names when applying for work to avoid discrimination and appear a part of the dominant western community, we know there is a fundamental problem. It is about elevating an oppressed group, providing a safe platform so that these issues can be discussed freely, without fear. It is not about bringing other groups down. There is a systemic, institutionalised imbalance of power that we face every day of our lives and positive steps like this merely mobilise individuals, incentivise institutions such as the MSA and educate the general populace about the reality of the world and the hopeful future we can have.
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The intern: working out work experience by Kate Mani
ake the most of it,” my dad says via Skype on the first day of my Arts international internship at the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres, Belgium. It’s the same advice he’s given me on the first day of every previous internship I’ve done: barrister’s chamber, publishing house, radio station, magazine office…. In this case I’ve travelled overseas for a slice of Europe, a character building experience and 12 credit points. But there are some things about internships that stay the same across the world. Excitement at new experiences conflicts with fear of endless photocopying. These are pretty regular emotions for any intern who’s put on a blazer and their best maturity for the first day on the job. While nothing can really protect you from the joys of photocopying if they do come your way, there are a few ways to maximise the results of your internship and gain much more than just 12 credit points. Have confidence in your contribution: Entering a workplace as a nervous intern, it’s easy to feel you should be seen and not heard, that you should avoid asking questions unless necessary and tiptoe past the other desks. Remember, you’re providing (normally free) help to an organisation – you should be praised! You’ll enjoy your experience more if you hold your head up high from the first day. Ask questions: Ask all possible questions about the industry and staffs’ specific roles, from exciting tasks to the more mundane. Ask especially about the mundane: Google will inform you about the glamorous side of job without having to leave your bedroom so maximise on the opportunity to hone in on the nitty gritty. Take notes of their answers. Any feelings of dorkiness at pulling out your notebook will be well outweighed by the fact you’ll actually remember the precious, ungoogable information at the end of the day. Once you’ve got a greater understanding of the workplace, don’t be afraid to ask staff slightly more meaningful questions. Why do they believe their work is important? What inspired them to pursue this path? While some will be willing to share more than others, gaging the values of people who work in a certain field is a good way to ascertain if this career path is for you.
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Practically speaking, if you don’t want to distract people with questions while they’re working, approach them confidently and ask them by name if you can arrange a later time to sit down with them. They will be impressed by your interest and professionalism. Don’t limit yourself: While choosing a field of work related to your degree is relevant, when it comes to choosing an internship, don’t be narrow-minded. Work experience is exactly that, work experience. You’re not committing to a career by spending a bit of time in an office. Internships are an opportunity for a short immersion in a field without long-term commitment. It’s the perfect way to learn about an area of work that you might be interested in but not inspired to devote your life to. Don’t have too high expectations: As previously alluded to, sometimes the tasks delegated to interns aren’t as exciting as you would like. In particular, the nature of short internships may make it hard to get involved in work requiring greater explanation or training. At the publishing house, I was thrilled to read publications and give a verdict on whether or not they should make the cut (extremely cool right?!). Rearranging the filing cabinet the next day was not quite as exciting. View your internship holistically and you’ll find there’s no such thing as wasted time or a pointless task. The chance to see an office’s inner workings, ask endless questions, improve your communication skills with professionals, feel comfortable in a different environment and survive a full 9-5 day can be just as valuable. Keeping in contact: Half the benefit of an internship doesn’t happen in the office. Internships are about connections and networking which means asking outright for business cards and email addresses. The week after the internship send follow-up thank-you emails to everyone who answered your questions, helped you with work, made you feel welcome, showed you where the closest coffee shop is… It may feel slightly silly, particularly if you didn’t have the most welcoming experience. However, if you want someone to remember you when you need a reference or industry contacts, your memorable photocopying skills are probably not going to cut it. If a thank you email feels too contrived, think of further questions you can ask by email to show a sustained interest in the field of work. That’s where the trusty notebook can come in handy. Being able to look back at a specific conversation and generate questions from your notes makes it look like we’re been paying attention big time. In any internship, the benefits up for grabs are much more than just a CV reference and 12 credit points. While these ideas won’t save you from photocopying, hopefully they’ll allow you to walk away satisfied knowing you’ve made the most of a quintessential student experience.
NOTICE OF ELECTION The following positions are to be elected at the MSA Annual Elections Office Bearer positions: • President • Secretary • Treasurer • Disabilities and Carers Oﬃcer • Education (Academic Aﬀairs) Oﬃcer • Education (Public Aﬀairs) Oﬃcer • Welfare Oﬃcer • Women’s Oﬃcer • Male Queer Oﬃcer • Female Queer Oﬃcer • Environment & Social Justice Oﬃcer • Indigenous Oﬃcer • Activities Oﬃcer • Lot’s Wife Editor/s
Nominations Nomination forms will be available at the MSA office, or by telephoning or writing to MSA, or via the internet at www.msa. monash.edu/elections Nominations open at 9am on Wednesday 17 August and close 5pm Friday 26 August. Copies of the regulations governing the election are available from the MSA office or via the internet at www.msa.monash. edu/elections
Monash Student Council and Committees: Monash Student Council (5 General Representatives) Women’s Affairs Collective (5 Members) Student Affairs Committee (10 Members)
Voting Polling for the MSA elections will be 19 – 22 September 2016, with the polling times and places as follows: The main polling place will be open in the Campus Centre foyer Monday 19 September 9.30am – 4.30pm Tuesday 20 September 9.30am – 6.00pm Wednesday 21 September 9.30am – 4.30pm Thursday 22 September 9.30pm – 4.30pm
National Union of Students: 7 Delegate positions
Remote polling will be open in the Hargrave-Andrew Library foyer
These elections are conducted using optional preferential voting, and in accordance with other provisions as required under the MSA Election Regulations (eg. only women can stand and vote for the Women’s Officer position).
Monday 19 September 11.30am – 2.30pm Thursday 22 September 11.30am – 2.30pm
Tickets Ticket re-registrations open at 9am on Monday 1 August and close Friday 5 August at 5pm. The tickets re-registered will then be published before Ticket registrations are then opened 9am Tuesday 9 August closing 5pm Monday 15 August.
Postal votes are possible for those students unable to attend the election in person. Applications will be available online or at the MSA. Gavin Ryan Returning Officer 1 August 2016 0409 757 504 email@example.com Lot’s Wife | 15
M S A
B E A R E R
R E PORTS
PR E SI DE N T
A B B Y
S TA PL E TON
Over the holidays I attended NUS education conference, hosted by the University of Sydney. We had the opportunity to attend workshops focusing on building for the upcoming national day of action on August 24th. These sessions were very beneficial and we hope to introduce some of the ideas thrown around during the conference, here at Monash. I have also spent a lot of time organising the introduction of the Workers Rights Advice service, which will be available first semester next year, I have been working closely with Trades Hall worker’s rights centre to get this off the ground. Early this semester I worked with the NUS Women’s officer to discuss how we could address the results of the ‘Talk about it’ survey. The survey pinpointed some pretty appalling statistics of sexual assault on campus, the MSA will be working closely with safer communities to introduce some of recommendations of the survey. That’s about all from me! I hope you are all having an excellent start to the semester!
T R E A S UR E R
M AT I L DA
G R E Y
Hello all! After a semester break full of elections, conferences and illness, we’re straight back into the swing of things at the MSA. The NUS education conference and the women’s conference - both held in Sydney - were well run and attended well by students from Monash. We learnt a lot about student engagement on campus, and around organising and mobilising for events such as the upcoming National Day of Action to be held on August 24. Again, we’ll be marching to protest against the Liberal governments attacks on higher ed - come along to protect your right to an equitable and quality education! 2nd semester O-Day was lots of fun - we signed up our 10,000th member for the year! In semester 2, come to the bar and order something off our new $5 menu, and look out for Vancora the food van on Friday mornings to grab a free coffee between 9 and 11 from our Welfare boys. Keep your eyes and ears open whilst on campus as you’ll hear and see plenty more from as we draw closer to the end of 2016 xoxo
S E C R E TA RY
GL E N N
D ON A HO O
Semester 2 is now well and truly under way and in the MSA we have been busy organising plans for some great new services. We have now started giving away free coffee and tea out of Vancora at halls every Friday morning, between 10 and 12, so make sure you come by and grab a cup to wake you up before that Friday morning class. We have also been promoting the National Day of Action on August 24 where we will be fighting against deregulation of flagship courses and other changes to higher education that have been proposed by the Liberals. I have also been busy recently preparing changes to our constitution that will go to a referendum at this year’s elections. There are a number of changes being proposed such as the creation of a People of Colour department and the addition of Radio Monash becoming a division of the MSA. Make sure you check out the changes in the election guide and vote to accept these awesome changes. As always, if you have any suggestions on services or campaigns we could run, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
E D U C AT ION
(AC A DE MIC
A FFA I R S)
Semester 2 has kicked off after a long July spent conferencing in Sydney. Both of us attended Education Conference at the University of Sydney where we attended workshops and seminars on education campaigns happening around Australia. After EdCon Jess attended NOWSA, a conference open to female-identifying students to discuss issues affecting women within higher education and the broader political landscape. And finally as a little treat for ourselves, we went to Splendour in the Grass with a few other friends to relax before semester started up again. As you can see, Dan had a great time.
E D U C AT ION
( P UB L IC
A FFA I R S)
Hello once again Monash peeps, your Education Public Affairs officers have been working very hard and have had awesome results. We have just attended Education Conference in Sydney, where we got a closer look at the campaigns being run by the National Union of Students (NUS), and we began planning for the August 24 th National Day of Action which are pivotal in showing the government and the public that students are heavily against any changes that endanger our right to a fair higher education. We’re a little less than 2 weeks away from the protest, and with that in mind have been promoting the protest as much as we can. Finally, we have established the Monash People of Colour Collective (MPOCC) and have had our first meeting, which was a success! The collective will further the campaign for a People of Colour department within the MSA, as it is necessary to have a space in the student organisation where the voices of ethnic students are heard. If you’d like to become a part of a team advocating for student issues than you can come to our offices located in the MSA, or you can join the Monash Education Action Group on Facebook and come along to our meetings. We look forward to seeing you around campus. Sumudu Setunge: email@example.com Sulaiman Enayatzada: firstname.lastname@example.org
DI S AB IL I T I E S
C A R E R S
Hello all! D&C week has left us quite satisfied as we managed to increase the visibility of our department and gained some wonderful new members - from this we’ve also started establishing weekly afternoon coffee meets in the disabilities office on Thursdays from 2-4 pm (come join us! We will provide foods and drinks). At the moment we are talking to the DSS and are planning meetings with the university counsellors to be able to figure out potentials to improving student access and support in terms of counselling provided here at uni. We also are in the process of establishing discussion groups to help direct us how to run the department as well as creating an official committee. If you are interested in joining one, both, either - anything really please do contact us! Last and certainly not least; we are offering our office as a quiet space for any students who may require a private place with low stimuli to relax (or even nap - our couches are comfy!) We’re also planning on talking to security about keeping the office unlocked even if we’re not in so come visit us! Have a fantastic week, Viv and Denise
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B E A R E R
R E PORTS
Q UE E R After recovering from the National Queer Conference we’re back in gear again with semester 2 and ready to make it an extra fab one. So far we’ve kicked off this semester with our regular events like Tuesday morning tea, Wednesday queer beers, and Thursday discussion groups but we’re also ramping things up by running an additional morning tea ‘LGBTea’ in Wholefoods and screening Orange is the New Black after every Queer Beers. Already this semester we’ve had exciting ‘Loud and Proud’ musical performance night where all number of acts took the Wholefoods stage and showed us their best. Now we’re getting prepared for Queer Week in week 6, with plenty of events planned like our future themed Queer Ball on the 2nd of September. If you want more info, or would like to be added to our secret Facebook group email msa-queer-l@monash. edu or the public MSA Queer page.
W E LFA R E Isn’t Spring just beautiful? When the flowers are in bloom, we just can’t resist long strolls across the Menzies lawn, a refreshing skinny dip in the murky pond – watch out for those grubby leeches; those things like to bite and wistfully swiping through Tinder, in search of our one true loves. But fellow students, you must know that Tinder isn’t everything. Whilst we have loved our experience serving you hella good vegie grub on a Monday evening and practicing our downward dogs and child posing, we have a confession to make. It is with a heavy heart that we inform you of our plans to join the next season of The Bachelor, in the spinoff series Bachie x 2: We’ll Take Care Of You. We know you’ll miss our saucy struts, socks + Birkenstocks, brooding demeanours, and furrowed brows in the corridor, but just remember, if you’re feeling lonely, we’ll be back in week 10 hosting a series of events and a BBQ. Come grab a few of our sizzling sausages ;)
AC T I V I T I E S Welcome back to uni everyone! After the excitement that was AXP, MSA Activities is ready for another world wind adventure in semester two! The department’s annual Oktoberfest event will be happening in week 9 that sees free bevs, German food and the chicken dance played so many times your arms fall off. Everyone dresses in their fanciest wench or lederhosen to forget about semester two blues. There will also be a new karaoke event and of course AXP II. Can’t wait to see you all this semester!
E N VIR ONM E N T
A N D
S O C I A L
J U S T IC E
The first few weeks of semester we’ve been occupied with the campaign to stop the deportation of one of our staff members. Dr. Biswajit Banik has taught Medicine at Monash for five years, and is now being threatened with deportation on the grounds his son’s autism is a potential “burden” on Australia’s health and community services! This is the reality of a capitalist immigration system, making decisions through the lens of profits and disregarding the human toll it will take. Fortunately similar decisions have been overturned before, and we hope to do the same. We held a solidarity photo with Dr. Banik on the Menzies Lawns with the NTEU and 150-200 Monash students and staff there to show support. We created and have been circulating an Open Letter calling on the Immigration Minister to overturn the decision, with well over a hundred signatures from academics, as well as from Greens Senators, Trade Unions and public figures. We also plan to hold a forum on campus for Biswa to tell his story and for us to plan what’s next for the campaign. To get involved or find out what else we’re up to, check out MSA.ESJC on Facebook.
WOM E N’S Hello, all! Since our last report we have continued or weekly events like our discussion groups. Over the break we took a delegate of Monash students to the NOWSA conference at University of Technology Sydney. We all learnt many new things and everyone felt they have been greater for the experience. This semester we are working on our publication, DISSENT magazine, with the assistance of the Lot’s Wife Editors. In terms of advocacy we are continuing our efforts to push for better University services and greater action on sexual assault on campus. With the incoming Australian Human Rights Commission Survey into this, we will work to ensure it reaches as many people as possible to help put pressure on universities nationwide. We are also getting underway in planning our department week in week 7. We hope to have ongoing connection and cooperation with other departments so that we may achieve the most this year.
I N DIG E N OU S A lot has been happening with the Indigenous Department over the past couple of months. Two prominent events, the National Indigenous Tertiary Games (NITESG) and the 2016 NAIDOC Ball, went ahead and Monash participated in both. The NITESG went extremely well for Monash. Our team competed in and won a variety events, leading to our best results yet. The NAIDOC Ball was also a hugely positive experience for Monash. We had a group of 20 students attend the Victorian NAIDOC Ball on the 9 th of July. This event was one of the largest events on the Indigenous calendar for the year, and it was incredibly valuable to have our university represented. With these events finished, we now look forward to our department week in week 5. We encourage all students to look out for what we have planned ahead.
Lot’s Wife | 17
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MONASH SAFER COMMUNITY UNIT T: +61 3 9905 1599 E: email@example.com
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For information, advice and support in a safe environment, please contact the Monash University Safer Community Unit on 9905 1599 or just dial 5159 from a Monash phone.The Safer Community Unit website also lists resources and links to external agencies http://www.adm.monash.edu.au/safercommunity/
Lotâ€™s Wife | 19
Dr. Biswajit Banik and his family in Mount Gambier, SA | Courtesy of Dr. Banik.
“Legislation should be made for human beings!”
Interview by Jasmine Duff
r Biswajit “Biswa” Banik, a lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University for over five years has been confronted with the prospect of deportation by the Australian Government. Why? Because his twelve year old son, Arkojeet, is autistic. The Immigration Department reasons that he may be a burden upon the Australian economy and health services. It is on this basis that the family’s application for permanent residency has been denied, and after nine years of living and working in Australia, they face being forced to return to Bangladesh. As the deadline for attaining permanent residency status approaches, a serious campaign to help keep Biswa, his wife Dr Sarmin Sayeed, and their son in Australia was launched in the form of a Change.org petition by Health Watch Australia, followed by an on-campus campaign headed by the Monash Student Association. The MSA’s Environment and Social Justice Department (ESJ) has organised the collection of names in an open letter, calling on Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to overturn the rejection of the application. On Friday 6 August, over 150 people gathered on the Menzies lawn to take a photo in solidarity with the Banik family. Jasmine Duff from ESJ spoke with Dr Banik after the demonstration.
20 | Lot’s Wife
Today over 150 students and staff gathered to stand in solidarity with your family. How did it go? It was a great, well organised initiative taken by the MSA’s Environment & Social Justice unit. I was overwhelmed and highly supported by Monash community: students, colleagues; all the staff at Monash. Everyone showed so much support, standing by me, by my family, by my son in particular. Everyone gave such a high level of solidarity. I feel today that the Monash family is beside me. It gives such a strong spirit to stay positive; it feels like I am not alone. You and your family have had a long, tumultuous journey in applying for permanent residency. What has happened so far? We submitted our application for permanent residency in December 2014. We got notified in July 2015 that my son did not meet the health criteria, and on that basis they had rejected the application for all three of us to stay in Australia. They gave us two weeks to appeal the decision. We had done our research and knew that we would have to go through this process, so we applied to the tribunal and had our hearing in December. The tribunal rejected us; they said
IN TE R V I E W
Monash staff and students in solidarity with Dr Banik and his family | Courtesy of Monash Student Association
they are bound to Australian immigration legislation. They forwarded our application to the minister [Peter Dutton], and we hoped that he may exercise his special power and allow us to stay. We trusted and hoped that we would get our result from him in 6 months’ time, but in the mean time it was two months since we had submitted our paperwork to the immigration department and we had heard nothing back from them. Then our son’s visa expired on 7 July. That’s when I contacted the immigration department again. I said “What will happen to my son?” They said my son is unlawful now. The department granted him a three month visa, but the visa came with restrictions: he cannot travel, and if he does travel he will not be allowed back inside the country. They said after the three months we could be given another extension, but after that if the minister refused to act my son would have to leave the country within 24 days. No appeal, no consideration.
from my lawyer or immigration. It’s like a compulsive disorder. Most people are not constantly, obsessively checking their email, but I check it any time I hear a beep or a vibration. Is it my lawyer? Have they heard anything? I work in a demanding profession. At Monash I need to provide a high standard of work. My students have expectations and I have a responsibility to them. But when I have this level of anxiety… I am a human, not a machine. Yesterday was the worst. I was in Berwick, and I suddenly got an email saying that I was meant to be teaching a tutorial in Caulfield! I teach it every week. In five years I have never been late, I have never missed a class, this was the first time. I am completely out of my mind. As a doctor, I recognise the symptoms of depression, of mental anxiety, anxiety disorder. Suddenly I have realised this is affecting me, taking a toll on my health. My wife is treating hundreds of thousands of patients. If she slips up, it is someone else who suffers. Both of us are doctors. We just want to get back to our normal lives.
What has it been like, the waiting? It is emotionally, physically, mentally draining. Every second, every minute I check my email to see if there is anything
What made you decide on a public campaign? I have been living in Australia for ten years. I have been a good citizen, abided every law; we work hard. Now we are Lot’s Wife | 21
IN TE R V I E W
Dr. Biswajit Banik and his family at the beach | Courtesy of Dr. Banik
being treated like paperwork. All these policies, legislation. Legislation should be made for human beings! They are treating my son like a criminal. All our hard work of the last 10 years, is this something we deserve? Over time we have tried to be positive, to appeal to the minister [for immigration], ask him to show some compassion. I felt that the time had come to give him a message. We wanted our voice to be heard by Australians and eventually by the government. We have done all the paperwork, but now we wanted to show how much affection and love we have in Australia. We want to show that people are supporting us. My wife is a general practitioner, and her practice supported her to make a petition. Straight away –you have no idea how much support we received! People wanted to express their anger, their frustration, their solidarity, their love! My students, and Monash, and the Environment and Social Justice unit at the MSA gave us their support, and now we have been all over the media. What makes you keep going? My inspiration is my son. All I want is for him to live a happy, independent life. I am happy to do anything: more training, more work, so I am not being considered a burden to society. It cannot be measured in money, economics cannot explain the work we do. Though, if you do want to measure 22 | Lot’s Wife
economically, have a look into our tax records! In spite of all our mental turmoil we feel that we should remain positive, that we should remain strong and the Monash community has shown me that. The MSA, the ESJ, NTEU (the National Tertiary Education Union)… we are grateful to them and we urge everyone to keep up your support. I wasn’t a member [of the NTEU] before, and today – oh my god. I have always had faith in my colleagues. They stood so strongly beside me. We feel that this is our home. Following the demonstration, the MSA’s Environment and Social Justice Department issued this statement: “The campaign to oppose the deportation of the Banik family is ongoing, and is not isolated. It is a testament to neoliberalism that only those seen as profitable by the immigration department may live in this country, with full rights granted to the minister to boot out anyone else. These laws are used often to discriminate against those that the government wishes to scapegoat, and today they are being used to send away a family who has made their home here for the past nine years.” If you would like to get involved in the campaign at Monash, please contact the MSA Environment and Social Justice collective for information about the open letter and future campaign events.
OPI NI ON
By the skin of their teeth: the changing face of Australian politics by Ninad Kulkarni
s the dust settles on the recent federal election, it is becoming increasingly clear that both the Labor and Liberal parties are attempting to frame the close result as a victory. This might have been a compelling narrative were it not for the inconvenient fact that both parties have suffered a clear decline in their primary vote. The significance of this has largely been ignored in favour of leadership speculation and Cabinet reshuﬄes, meaning a deeper narrative from the election was missed. The electorate is deeply dissatisfied with the major political parties meaning we are likely to see even more political instability in the future. It’s a bit of a cliché at this point to suggest that the public is unhappy with politicians; however, it’s only in recent times that this unhappiness has threatened the continued viability of the major parties. In the twenty-four years prior to 2007 there had only been three changes in Prime Minister; from 2007 to present there have been five. Politicians are quick to deflect blame for this instability - it’s the journalists, it’s social media, it’s Getup! But the more likely explanation is that modern politicians are just unrepresentative of the wider population and this perception of being unrepresentative has damaged the standing of politicians in the community. There is a clear career trajectory that has emerged in the past twenty or so years for people interested in taking up a career in politics - study a degree (usually law), work for either a union or a business before a stint as a staffer and then win a safe seat in Parliament. While it could be argued that it makes sense for aspiring politicians to get as much exposure to how politics works as possible, it seems as though the balance has gone too far in the wrong way, especially considering that politicians are supposed to be representative of the community. It’s difficult to be representative when your career path only reflects the views of a narrow subsection of society. The perception of being unrepresentative leads to the further problem that the community doesn’t believe that politicians serve the interests of the community. Politicians make decisions based on what they believe is best for the community rather than what the population actually wants. To a certain extent they appear to be self obsessed - part of what made the Gillard Government so unpopular was the view that it was more focused on leadership and factions than governing. These problems have paved the way for ‘anti-politicians’ like Pauline Hanson to make their way into Parliament.
The individuals who were the clear winners from the election don’t really have common policy ground - while Pauline Hanson is Islamaphobic, Nick Xenophon is not. But what is common amongst figures such as Hanson, Xenophon or Derryn Hinch is that they are outside the system. They don’t have the same career path as politicians, when they’re offered a question they generally answer directly and they all have very high public profiles based on campaigning on issues important to them Xenophon is anti-pokies, Hanson argues against foreigners and immigrants while Hinch criticizes politicians for being soft on crime. The attraction for voters here is probably that there is a sense of ‘what you see is what you get’ whereas candidates for the major parties merge into a monolithic blob. It’s also interesting to note that different ‘anti-politicians’ were more successful in different states - for example, Xenophon did extremely well in South Australia where there has been strong debate on local issues such as submarine manufacturing. The attraction for voting for minor parties ahead of the major parties is actually pretty clear - you could vote for someone like Christopher Pyne who has to balance advocacy for South Australia with his national responsibilities or you could vote for Xenophon who you know will be able to put South Australians first. The election has made clear that the major parties face an existential threat to their continued relevance in society. The Labor and Liberal parties are obviously aware of this, as evidenced by the Government claiming that voting for independents would lead to instability or Bill Shorten ruling out a deal with the Greens. However, the problem with this tactic is it is a Band-Aid solution to the much deeper problem of resentment towards politicians. The true test for whether the parties can bounce back from the election is whether they attempt to change course or continue with their stale brand of unrepresentative politics - all evidence so far indicates that they are effectively doomed.
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Laughing all the way to the right
by Julia Pillai Illustration by Christina Dodds
s previously laughable populist right wing movements such as the Leave campaign and One Nation have seen success in 2016, the attention now falls on America. It is official that when America goes to the polls in November, their choice is now between ultra-establishment Democrat Hillary Clinton – a seemingly radical choice for all reasons except for policy – and the anti-establishment, loosely Republican candidate Donald Trump. How we got here is a bizarre tale. The reality TV show star who consistently admits that he is not a politician, who has literally no experience in political leadership, is making his debut. Not in a local council, or a mayoral or state election, but in the bid to become the leader of the free world. Viewing this from the context of Auastralia where our prime ministerial candidates are chosen from within the Labor or Liberal parties, from a pool of individuals that already have a mandate in their electorate, this prospect is ridiculous. Since declaring that he’d contest the election last year, through the many sexist, ableist, racist, and homophobic gaffes we’ve laughed at him. We’ve found him amusing, we’ve found his entourage amusing and we’ve found the very original speech from his wife, Melania Trump amusing. We all laughed, as if the problem of Donald Trump would vanish by merely discrediting him. If anything our laughter and relentless judgment of him, his policies, and his neon orange skin and hair made him and his followers stronger. America has laughed its way to the Republican national convention. Then they laughed a bit more. However, with Trump becoming the Republican Party candidate, he has a very real chance of getting those nuclear codes.
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The Grand Old Party ultimately brought the force of Donald Trump, a force akin to the worst Facebook comment thread ever, upon itself. As explained in his article, ‘Britain allowed its populist right to rise. America should heed the warning’, Richard Wolffe claims that “the rise of charismatic, far-right leaders can only happen when the weak leaders of the centre-right surrender to them”. Charismatic Trump certainly is surrounded by his ragtag supporters. The “Twinks for Trump” group, including alt-right commentator and self-proclaimed “most fabulous supervillain on the internet”, Milo Yiannopoulos, are calling Trump ‘daddy’; Sarah Palin is stumping for Trump, and KKK figures such as David Duke are in support. Is the rise of right wing populism the defeat of the ordinary, uninteresting centre? And if so, why aren’t we seeing a reaction in the left wing? The Democratic establishment was able to pull down the radical left wing of the party, hence nominating Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders as its candidate. Is the left rushing to the centre in fear of what the right will bring? With big name republicans such as Doug Elmets coming out in public support for Clinton, have the democrats alienated their faithful for a safer choice? Has the disintegration of the Republican Party’s norms seeped into the Democrats’ campaign? Trump, like One Nation and Brexit, is a serious challenge to America’s political system, and could destroy any form of stability in the country. No one should be laughing now.
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Jerks and circles: political discussion in the meme age
by Ovindu Rajasinghe
he Libs may have won the federal election, but the clear winner of the meme election is Labor. Throughout the cold, miserable, eight week shitfight that returned Malcolm to the Lodge, the ALP Spicy Meme Stash shone a light through the darkness. Their memery was a beacon of hope in an otherwise bleak election campaign. Their closest competitors were the Liberal Party’s Agile and Innovative Memes, who tried really hard, but came across as very stale. In a baﬄing strategic choice, the Greens didn’t even make any memes. There’s something strangely comforting about people with similar political views to you laughing about politics in this country in a post-post irony internet. The images and short videos that were produced were really funny. I never thought Bill Shorten could undergo an Ed Millibandesque transformation into a sex symbol; never have I been so glad to be proven wrong. As much as I enjoyed all of the golden material that this election produced, is the proliferation of (supa hot) fiyah election memes good for our political discourse? My initial response to that question was: of course it is. Swathes of people across the country are disengaged with politics, particularly young people, and part of that is feeling excluded from the elite institutions of politics. Most people don’t sit down and read Guardian op-eds, or listen to the interviews on 7:30, because they simply don’t care. In such a context, isn’t it good that politics is spreading back into the mainstream through memes appearing on people’s newsfeeds? Someone who might not have even known who the Labor leader was could have a picture of Shorten painted for them by ALP Spicy Meme Stash taking the piss out of him. Someone who didn’t understand the debate around Liberal cuts to Medicare could have the issue pop up on their feed. At first glance, the memes seem like a great thing. But when you look at it more closely, meme politics is very much a circlejerk, even more so than regular politics. When pages like ALP Spicy Meme Stash post something, hundreds of people will tag their friends. The people that like the page are generally going to be leftie types, who will lap up the content. While some people will see the memes appear on their newsfeed because one of their friends liked or commented, the majority of people that engage are believers.
The result of this is an echo chamber. The Labor-Greens types that like these pages have certain preconceptions about the world, and constantly seeing these reinforced is unhealthy. We become convinced we are morally superior without ever having to confront alternative arguments, or defend our positions. This echo-chamber is true of most media, but memes are particularly susceptible. This culture also creates an insular ‘us and them’ mentality. There is no debate, or dialogue, but simply “the Libs are stupid, let’s laugh at them”. As much as I think Liberals are stupid and we should laugh at them, it’s not always the most productive way to do politics. You’re not going to win the vote of a swinging young person whose parents are rusted on Liberal voters by insulting the beliefs they grew up with, with no productive dialogue accompanying it. These things might not seem particularly bad when you think about them in the context of left-wing meme pages. But what happens when you flip it, and look at right-wing meme pages? Take God Save Our Gracious Meme, a UKIP-supporting nationalist page from the UK. They are often genuinely funny, but also mock and degrade immigrants, people of colour, women, and other minorities. God Save Our Gracious Meme has a base that is made up of young nationalists from England, some of whom have some pretty radical views. In the comments section you will regularly see more of the same bigotry, and people tagging their mates in memes that reinforce their values. Take one of those UKIP, or United Patriot Front, or Trump supporting pages run by old people, making unintentionally shit memes. Imagine them posting a crude image denigrating immigrants. Imagine the comments section: ‘you can’t even see any white faces in london any more!!! we need to put our foot down and stop all immigration now’ ‘OMG so true Barbara, so many brown people, they’re taking over MY country!! hope you are well love from me susan and the kids’ The circlejerk doesn’t look so good from the other side of the fence. The ALP Spicy Meme Stash is really funny, because I subscribe to most of their values. But what it can’t do is replace conversations and dialogue about politics.
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Chasing Asylum b y Jenni fer Wor thin g Illustration by Karla Engdahl
hasing Asylum, directed by Academy Award winner Eva Orner, is arguably the most important piece of investigative journalism in recent Australian film history. The documentary frankly reveals the shocking conditions of Australia’s offshore detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru, and explores the physical, mental, emotional and financial costs of this detrimental asylum seeker policy. Just a month after the 2016 Australian Federal Election, and the solidification of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, Chasing Asylum is becoming increasingly relevant in the domestic and global context of the refugee crisis. In recent weeks, xenophobic outrage has been strongly expressed across the globe: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s hate speech; the elevation of Pauline Hanson to the Australian Senate on an anti-Islam platform; Sonia Kruger’s recent calls to ban Muslim immigration into Australia; and the history-making ‘Brexit’ decision. There have been repeated vocalisations of ‘anti-Other’ sentiments around the world. Unfortunately, this is not novel, nor is targeting ‘illegal’ asylum seekers unprecedented. Australian asylum seekers policies have been a major political issue for over a decade as Chasing Asylum reminds viewers of the 2001 ‘Tampa’ and ‘Children Overboard’ incidents that were unfolding in Australian politics. Such affairs involved the Australian Government stirring moral panic regarding asylum seeker arrivals, which ultimately catalysed the beginning of offshore detention as part of the ‘Pacific Solution’. While the topic of asylum-seeking remains heavily politicised today, the global refugee crisis continues to mount: the numbers of refugees are the highest since the aftermath of World War II. Chasing Asylum is a ground-breaking insight into how far we haven’t come. The documentary thoroughly canvasses the current policy of offshore detention of people arriving via ‘illegal’ channels, accounting for the three-word slogans (“Stop the boats”) which have been drummed into national consciousness. Through the testimonies of camp staff, interviews with journalists, and secretly recorded footage, Chasing Asylum provides a rare glimpse into the closeted lives of detainees on Manus Island and Nauru. In doing so, the documentary persists in fostering serious public discourse, which has been largely absent due to restricted media access to the centres. Successive Australian leadership, on both sides of the political spectrum, have pursued offshore detention in order to reduce the number of the so-called ‘illegal’ boat arrivals, and, to limit the number of deaths at sea. While the documentary acknowledges the veracity of claims that deaths at sea have, in fact, reduced, Chasing Asylum also articulates the human cost of this reduction.
The documentary contends that the current political stance has devolved into a policy of deterrence: poor conditions in offshore detention centres and long-term incarceration are intended to dissuade future asylum seekers from arriving by boat. This point is reiterated by camera footage, which draws attention to the threatening Australian Government posters peppered throughout Indonesia. These posters, and accompanying video propaganda unequivocally advise asylum seekers that if they attempt to reach Australia via ‘illegal’ boat channels, they will never be settled in Australia: “You will not make Australia home”. Furthermore, Chasing Asylum elucidates the extensive financial strain involved in implementing this deterrence, citing that over a billion dollars annually is sunk into remanding asylum seekers offshore, which amounts to around $500,000 – per refugee, per year – for however long they remain in detention. The ramifications of long-term detention are both physical and mental. The documentary details the extent of guard aggression, provides footage of violent riots at the centres, and remembers the tragic deaths of Reza Barati and Hamid Kehazaei whilst in detention. Chasing Asylum projects the shocking effect of detention on mental health, detailing medical reports of self-harm in children, and evidence of detainees engaging in lip and eyelid-stitching, cutting, and the ingestion of poisons. Australia is the only country in the world with a policy of indefinitely detaining children. There are irrevocable, pervasive ramifications of detaining young children. Chasing Asylum suggests that, in addition to mental health concerns, these children also exhibit behavioural issues such as identifying as their boat identification numbers and presenting highly sexualised conduct. As the illicit camera record the camps, desperate slogans scrawled across the tents and living spaces are revealed: “we hate Nauru”, “kill us”. Overwhelmingly, offshore processing is depicted as seriously failing vulnerable people. Chasing Asylum is a candid examination of Australia’s asylum seeker policies in practice. Providing a rare, confronting insight into the conditions on Manus island and Nauru, and questioning both the political motivations, and the tangible human cost of persisting with these policies, this documentary is one of the most salient commentaries on Australian immigration policy. There will be a free screening of Chasing Asylum hosted by the Environment and Social Justice Department on August 29th at 4pm in the Campus Cinema.
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Wot’s Life with Pauline Hanson I l l u s t ra t i o n b y G e n e v i e ve To w n s e n d
If you still owned your fish and chips store, do you think you might have expanded your repertoire and started making HSPs? No. No, I definitely wouldn’t have been interested. I would have kept my shop traditionally Australian and only sold fish and chips. We need to stick to our country’s roots. Didn’t fish and chips originate in England? Well. Look, they might have. I don’t know. Moving on. Hey, you’re probably the best person to ask. What’s a surefire way to ensure a large collective of people don’t like you? What an appropriate question. I am the best person to ask, because I’ve been seeing this for years. If you come into our country expecting special treatment, while trying to bring in ISIS so you can break apart our nation, destroy our ancient culture, force your foreign cuisine on me, poison our waterholes 28 | Lot’s Wife
and corrupt our children, you can expect that most Australians, such as myself won’t like you. Would you rather be gay for Moleman or have your dick out for Harambe? *sigh* I’m not going to answer that question, there’s many other questions that need answers, and frankly I’m not a fan of that one. How do you feel about the fact that One Nation now holds four seats in a much larger and diverse Senate, with a 20 person crossbench, where it’s going to be extremely difficult to pass the policies that you want to focus on, particularly on decisions relating to Muslim immigration? I don’t like it.
designed by Lucie Cester
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Calling all writers, designers and illustrators to get involved with
Dissent is a yearly zine published by the MSA womens deparment that features the talent, ideas, rants and musings of awesome women. We are seeking contributions from all mediums, such as poetry, prose, drawing, comics, design, commentary, etc. If youâ€™d like to get invovled, send an email to email@example.com ***Dissent is a publication open to all those that identify as or with women, including non-binary individuals***
Beyond the black tub: Aussie-born inventions by Sasha Hall Illustration by Jena Oakford 34 | Lotâ€™s Wife
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hen most Gen Y’s think of Aussie inventions, one that may spring to mind is Wifi: an indispensable tool (unless it throws a temper tantrum… looking at you, eduroam). But sitting on my couch binge-watching Shark Tank for no apparent reason made me wonder what other ingenuities Australia has created: apart from Halal Snack Packs, Vegemite and Bunnings BBQs, of course. So, here are a few home-grown inventions that may surprise you. The Fridge: This multi-billion dollar idea came from the humble James Harrison, a Geelong politician who also later edited The Age. He patented a vapour-compression refrigeration system, where gas was passed through a condenser and liquefied, becoming cool. The cool liquid was then passed through coils until it turned back into gas. This process cooled the air around the coils, eventually freezing the water that was in the unit and making Harrison a nice bit of profit from ice-making machines. Eventually, the idea was turned into the indispensable frosty safe-house for midnight snacks found in kitchens worldwide, revolutionising food storages and human history. Google Maps: how else are you supposed to play Pokémon GO get places? The genius idea of Google Maps was cooked up by two brothers at their Sydney based company, Where 2 Technologies, as a C++ desktop program. After pitching their idea to Google, their entire company was purchased by Google in 2004. Shortly afterwards, Google had turned the initial model into the version we couldn’t game live without today. Notepads: 100% Australian. In 1902, a Tasmanian stationary shop owner got fed up with selling ordinary writing books, where pages were folded in half and stapled or sewn at the crease. So he decided to just stick some glue on the top edge of a stack of pages, and whack a cardboard backing on it. On ya mate. Dual flush toilets: it’s nice to know that we have made sustainable contributions to the world as well. Bruce Thompson designed and developed the first dual flush toilet in 1980, subsequently saving millions of litres of water, and giving us the freedom of choice in the dunny. Plastic spectacle lenses: at least someone understood the need for lenses that survive the fall to the solid concrete floor (when you drop them in your unfathomable clumsiness). Scientists from the University of Adelaide, we are sincerely grateful. Black Box recorders: providing new hope and answers for air crash investigators and those affected by mysterious plane crashes, this device combines a flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder to provide an informative overall picture of a flight. Without it, we would never know what happened in those final moments. We can credit this to Australian engineer David Warren. Baby Safety Capsules: this one is pretty smart. It’s not just ya mum’s baby car seat; this one has a cushion of air between the child’s bassinet and the base of the seat. In the event of a crash, the cushion of air allows the bassinet to rotate within the base, dissipating force and minimising trauma, leaving the little bub safe ‘n’ sound.
advancements, namely that curved surfaces on kite wings provide more lift than flat ones, and invented the box kite. He was also an admirable academic who, instead of patenting his inventions, decided to publish them openly in the spirit of communication and free access: no wonder our library is named after him! He invented the radial rotary engine which was driven by compressed air and used in planes up until the 1920’s, and in 1894, he attached this engine to four box kites and managed to hoist himself 5 metres off the ground, making aviation history! Although they never credited him, his work was instrumental to the development of the Wright Brothers’ early airplane, and thus to air travel today. David Unaipon: credited as Australia’s Da Vinci, he was a pioneer in engineering and science, who invented a mechanical motion machine that revolutionised sheep shearing, turning circular movement into straightened motion within the device. He lodged an astounding 19 patents on machines, such as centrifugal motors, but was unable to afford the costs and thus ended up having ideas taken from him, instead of rightfully profiting from them. A member and advocate of the Ngarrindjeri people of South Australia, David Unaipon was a pivotal activist for the Indigenous community, and the first Aboriginal writer to be published in English, writing about many Aboriginal legends in newspapers such as the Sydney Morning Herald. It is only fitting that his work as an inventor and activist, despite a lack of monetary gain, has gained him lasting commemoration on that $50 note you probably don’t have in your pocket.
And here are a couple of inventors we really should all know about: Lawrence Hargrave: yes the same cool guy that HAL is half-named after. He made some extremely important
Note: This list is just my top picks. But even so, I feel happy that now when I pick up a bar of Cadbury top deck, it comes with the awareness and pride that we have invented a fair deal more than seriously good chocolate.
*BONUS LEVEL* Medical things: • Ultrasound scanner: uses really high pitched sounds to create an image (echolocation) of internal tissue, from a screwed up knee to a pregnant belly. • Spray on skin using the patient’s own skin cells • Bionic ear or cochlear implant • Pacemaker • Egg freezing technology required for IVF (thanks Monash) • Anti-flu medication • HPV vaccine • Other things: • First ever Feature film: The Story of Ned Kelly, which ran for roughly an hour long, not only brought in its producers a nice profit but also made history. • Plastic bank notes- because the Reserve Bank of Australia can invent things too. • AFL, duh • The Hills Hoist (AKA the rotating clothes line thing you used to swing off in your grandparents’ backyard) • Digital music sampler or synthesiser • Military tanks • The electric drill • Goonbags- because what is a better idea than putting cheap wine in a bag in a box?
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Can the pill cause depression?
by Jake Kirk | Illustration by Karla Engdahl
ave you ever thought that the pill may be changing your mood? Whilst the physical side-effects of the pill have been well established, relatively little research has been conducted into what, if any, psychological side-effects it may have. Indeed, these effects are not limited to the pill, they encompass all hormonal contraceptives including implants and injections. Many of our patients report thinking that the mood changes were their fault (“just me”, “being moody”) or due to circumstances occurring in their life. Most of our patients were not aware that hormonal contraception could affect mood before hearing about our research. All hormonal contraceptives, unsurprisingly, contain chemicals that are similar to hormones found in the body. Hormones are chemical messengers that the body uses to control its functions including reproduction. Hormonal levels fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle and it is these cyclical fluctuations that bring about reproductive events such as menstruation and ovulation. Emerging research suggests that these hormonal fluctuations play a role in mood and mental illness. Research has shown that mood fluctuates along with these hormonal variations with mood being lower at the beginning of the menstrual cycle compared to the middle. Many mental illnesses may be exacerbated at certain times during the menstrual cycle as well. Thus, it may come as no surprise that adding in hormone mimicking substances to the body could affect a woman’s psychological state. All hormonal contraceptives contain a chemical similar to the hormone progesterone, many also contain a chemical similar to the hormone oestrogen. These progesterone-like substances, called progestins, are the chemical that is chiefly responsible for preventing pregnancy. Progestins mainly achieve this by inhibiting ovulation, the
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release of an egg ready to be fertilised by sperm. Progestins also prevent pregnancy by thickening cervical mucus (making it harder for sperm to reach an egg) and thinning the uterus lining (making the conditions less hospitable for a fertilised egg to survive). The combined oral contraceptive pill adds in estrogen to provide more predictable bleeding and is more effective at preventing pregnancy. Preliminary research suggests that estrogen may have a beneficial effect on mood. Progesterone may worsen mood. Indeed, our research suggests that women using progesterone-only contraceptives may have worse mood compared to women using the combined oral contraceptive pill. Both these hormones affect the brain directly and are further broken down into other chemicals which can have psychological effects. This research is important in furthering women’s mental health and reproductive rights given 88% of Australian women will use hormonal contraception in their lifetime and women suffer from depression at twice the rate of men. Indeed, the largest reason for discontinuing hormonal contraception is dissatisfaction, this includes psychological, sexual and physical side-effects. As the pill is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when used correctly, many women swap to less effective methods of contraception like condoms. So, if you are feeling depressed after swapping or starting hormonal contraception, it is important to factor in the new hormone contraceptive when searching for causes and treatment of your depression. If this happens to you please let your doctor know, since there are many different formulations of hormonal contraceptives on the market, (with different individual effects); it might help to swap to another brand. Jake Kirk is a Bachelor of Science (hons) research student at Monash Alfred Psychiatry research centre. If you are interested in participating in research about the oral contraceptive pill and mood or want more information you can contact jake.kirk@ monash.edu or SMS 04 6849 5245.
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Following the piper: science can’t save the world by James Q uintana Pearce
Scientism: the uncritical application of scientific or quasi-scientific methods to inappropriate fields of study or investigation - Collins English Dictionary
cience, as a paradigm, has had remarkable success in answering the questions it was created to answer, namely those that relate to physical reality. This has led many to wallow in the belief that science is the only legitimate paradigm with which to answer any and all questions. Although science isn’t a religion, many people misuse science in the same way that many others misuse religion -- they apply the paradigm to inappropriate questions, and dismiss alternative answers. Signs that suggest a person is a follower of scientism: - They deride something as being unscientific, when it has nothing to do with science. - They quote a famous scientist, or a popular writer, as if the quote ends the argument. - They say science can solve any problem, often going further by saying that science will solve all problems. - They dismiss hypotheses that challenge what they perceive as the scientific status quo, for example claiming that an idea is “un-Darwian”, even though they also cite science’s ability to reject long-held ideas in favour of new ones that better fit the evidence as making the field superior. - They believe science will allow them to live forever in some way, and if they die science will resurrect them to live forever. - They believe science will inevitably create a utopia. For the most part, these behaviours are no more damaging than other irrational modes of argument, but there is one result of this belief that is a problem: when people abdicate the responsibility of altering their behaviour to make the world a better place, because that is the job of science. They think it doesn’t matter if species go extinct and ecosystems get destroyed, because science will just recreate them. It doesn’t matter if wealth inequality is increasing, because science will invent new things that will grow the economy. It doesn’t matter if their products create new forms of pollution, because science will just clean it up. However, time and time again science has been shown to be inadequate to the task of saving the world on its own. Usually, the solution to one problem creates one or more new problems that need to be solved, and sometimes the negative effects are hard to predict. When people proposed the use of chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) as a refrigerant, to replace the toxic compounds used at the time, it is understandable that looking at the structure of CFC, one would not have made the leap to the destruction of the ozone layer.
Often the consequences are entirely predictable, however. When antibiotics, used in intensive farming to increase the growth rate of animals, led to deadly bacteria which were resistant to multiple types of antibiotics, that consequence was obvious and inevitable. More damningly for scientism, oftentimes science simply can’t solve a problem. Often, the ‘Green Revolution’ is used as an example of the omnipotence of science, but I would contend that it is in fact a demonstration of the limitations of science. The Green Revolution aimed to solve the problem of chronic hunger in many parts of the world by increasing crop yield. New farming techniques such as irrigation and artificial fertiliser use, as well as improved seed strains, were introduced to developing nations in the 1970s. As a result, cereal output doubled over the next few decades, which would be a clear win, if the population hadn’t also doubled over the same time period, increasing the total number of people living with hunger. According to the United Nations, “the number of hungry people in the world grew by 15 million from 1970 to 1980, to 475 million … [then the rate grew faster] reaching 512 million in 1985”. The people living in hunger didn’t own land, and didn’t benefit from the increased crop yields. Additionally, the increased population and profitability of farmland exacerbated the problem of wilderness areas being cleared. Is the problem intractable? No. Hunger continued to increase, peaking at more than a billion people during the 1990s, but since then has been steadily declining. The change the realisation that using science to increase crop yields wasn’t enough without social change to reduce and reverse population growth, economic change to direct funds to the most poor and lower income inequality, and political change to provide people the freedom to control and improve their lives. None of this could be provided by science alone. Science will be instrumental in solving problems to make the world a better place, but on its own, unscrupulous use will be at the expense of us all. Other disciplines, such as sociology, politcal science and social justice need to be supported by science so it can make appropriate contributions to society, and the world. Individually, we need to stop abdicating personal responsibility in favour of relying on science (or anything else), and accept that we are accountable for the changes we make to the world, and obliged to make our effect a positive one.
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Forever young by Kathy Zhang
cientists spend a lot of time reading papers to stay on top of the latest discoveries. So when I stumbled upon the headline: “Russian Scientist Injects Himself with 3.5-MillionYear-Old Bacteria, Reckons He Might Now Live Forever” that meant one of the two following things: one, this guy is about to win a Nobel Prize a la Marshall and Warren, who showed that most stomach ulcers were caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacterium when Marshall swallowed a vial of the stuff and took himself to hospital for the subsequent ulcer; or two, Vice may not be a particularly reputable scientific publication. As it turns out, it meant the latter. The Bacillus F bacteria was found by geocryologists in the permafrost of Mammoth Mounter, Siberia. It had survived for millions of years in the ice. While treating mice with the bacteria seemed to increase longevity and fertility, the reported effects on humans are purely anecdotal. That is to say, this Anatoli Brouchkov scientist guy injected himself just for kicks, felt more energetic and now believes the bacteria may hold the key to immortality. Although this seems farfetched, chief futurist at Google, Ray Kurzweil, suggests that immortality is possible within our lifetimes. Our understanding of the human genome now allows us to edit it in previously inconceivable ways. Kurzweil suggests that biomedicine may no longer be just a science, but an information technology where we can add, subtract or reprogram our genes or the “software of life” in more beneficial ways. He predicts that by 2020 we will start using nanobots to bolster the immune system, and technology will add years to our life expectancies. This extension of life will be accompanied by an expansion of life in an era known as ‘the Singularity’. By 2045 when non-biological intelligence will become a billion times more powerful than all human intelligence today, Kurzweil predicts biotechnology may allow our brains to connect to “the cloud” and become more intelligent and powerful. Recreational activities will also develop to combat the tedium of life everlasting. Your favourite cyberpunk visions may become a reality yet (I’m voting for Ghost in the Shell). Transhumanism and sentient cyborgs aside, there are easier ways to live forever. Among the world’s oldest people, most are women, several of whom attribute their longevity in part to
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avoiding men. “They’re just more trouble than they’re worth,” said Jessie Gallan, who lived to be 109. Perhaps she too was aware that domestic violence is the number one contributor to death, disability and illness in Victorian women aged 15 to 44. Diet is also considered a major factor. The Indigenous peoples of the Ryukyu Islands of Japan have the longest life expectancy in the world, making the Okinawa diet the object of some interest. It mostly consists of vegetables, Okinawan sweet potato and pork, and contains much less rice, fish, meat and sugar than the standard Japanese diet. With the shift away from the traditional diet towards more Western and Japanese patterns however, longevity has decreased. Certain animals also display biological immortality, meaning their chronological age and biological aging processes are decoupled. Contrary to popular belief, lobsters do not live forever. However, they are able to live for a very long time thanks to the enzyme telomerase. Telomeres are like protective caps on the ends of chromosomes. These shorten over time after cell division. Telomerase repairs telomeres, preventing them from shortening and damaging the DNA, leading to aging. The good news is this stops lobsters from aging. The bad news is this may cause cancers in humans. Say we could live forever, would we want to though? A very rigorous Facebook poll of my distinguished peers revealed that 2 out of 7 would want to live forever. Major concerns included boredom and loneliness. Some of the ethical implications of immortality include increasing the world population, strain on the world’s resources and the furthering social and economic inequalities with unequal life expectancies. In any case, if any of this is true then there may be time for me to get even with the casting director of Ghost in the Shell after all.
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Saving crops with robots by Shivani Gopaul Illustration by Angus Marian
ince the dawn of time, humankind has delved into available resources to alter the environment, making it more liveable and more comfortable day by day. Being able to use a spear-shaped rock to hunt, or using a cattle-driven chariot to transport goods were considered marvels, and greatly influenced the agricultural sector and ensured food security for man over time. It all started with the use of simple mechanical systems to assist farmers in transporting heavy loads, or in crushing cereal to make refined products and widen the variety of foods available for consumption. Over the years, we witnessed the development of railway tracks, making transport of agricultural goods faster, more efficient and cost-effective. Later, we saw the advent of automatic systems in agriculture, such as the use of machinery to milk cows and sort milk according to quality, to the use of highly precise sensors to track the pH of soil. Data analysis tools, combined with crop monitoring via satellite, have revolutionised our ability to predict soil fertility trends. We also make use of genetic modifications to make environmentally stronger crops, able to better withstand climatic, biological and chemical damage. With these scientific breakthroughs, man has seen agriculture metamorphose into a mechanised and automated world, where technology complements human ingenuity. Today, humankind has reached new heights as far as agricultural technology is concerned. Agricultural robots, commonly known as ‘agbots’, will soon become a fully viable solution to various farming problems. One of the most serious problems is colony collapse disorder, faced by pollinator bees, triggered by ecological imbalances and climate change. Environmentalists have noted a massive decline in the bee population in the world, which directly impacts food production as pollination rates drop, threatening food security all over the planet. A few decades ago, the focus was on trying to resolve the issue, by artificially breeding bees and re-introducing them into the environment when they became mature and environmentally resilient. Others would emphasise the need to make use of genetically modified insects or cloning as a means of boosting
the bee population growth. However, today there is an unprecedented way to address the issue: miniature robotic bees. These agbots are known as RoboBees, as nicknamed by the Harvard University researchers working on the project, led by Professor Robert Wood. With advancements in robotics and material technologies, what was unthinkable in the past is today’s reality. Carbon fibre, titanium and plastics are combined to make micro-mechanical structures, which are rigid all while having flexible joints so as to achieve different flight manoeuvres and carry out exceptionally specific functions. Highly precise refining methods such as laser-cutting are used to manufacture the outer bodies of the RoboBees, and state-of-the-art materials engineering technologies are employed in the circuitry of the agbot: printed-circuit micro electromechanical systems (PC-MEMS). The overall structure is very light, owing to the low-density materials used, and thus RoboBee has low power consumption and can move around quite fast - the wings are able to flap 30 times per second. Only a few centimetres long , once put into use, these RoboBees will have a massive influence on the agricultural sector. It will serve as temporary solution to the danger of extinction of natural bees and boost pollination, thus ensuring the continuity of plant reproduction. However, more progress is yet to be achieved in regards to the large-scale implementation of this project. The next challenge is to enable the RoboBees to communicate with one another and coordinate their actions as a unit, to biomimic the natural hive behaviour of bees. This would promise an imminent revolution in terms of using the robotic bees for other purposes, such as the identification of chemically-hazardous regions through the use of sensors, or the simplification of search and rescue operations using small size of the robot. While still at the prototype stage, the RoboBee project is bound to push the limits of the use of technology in agriculture, and open up a world of endless possibilities in terms of the future possibilities of agbots. Get ready to say hello to Nature 2.0! Lot’s Wife | 39
Illustration by Lucie Cester
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by Rajat Lal
ANSWERS AT LOTSWIFE.COM.AU Lotâ€™s Wife | 41
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Paying their debts: Game of Thrones season six b y R a chael Wellin g Illustration by Olivia Rossi
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BO’s Game of Thrones is a massive cultural phenomenon. We all know this. We’ve seen the endless recaps, the ubiquitous Winter is Coming meme, the photoshopped pictures of political figures sitting the Iron Throne and so on. Even my Mum vaguely understands that Game of Thrones is well known for ‘tits and dragons’, and she consumes no television except for ABC news and My Kitchen Rules. As of 2014, Game of Thrones became HBO’s most watched TV show of all time, and with a steadily climbing viewership (ostensibly not including the droves of sea faring bandits who watch the show), GoT won’t be disappearing from the cultural sphere any time soon. The question is: Does this god-tier status of cultural infamy affect the production of Game of Thrones in any way? At first glance, no. Showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss have specifically stated they don’t directly listen to fan criticism. And it is doubtful that Benioff and Weiss could even begin to satisfy all of the shows fans if they deigned to listen to them. The show has so many subsets of fans; casual watchers, avid followers, fans of the show’s source material A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF), people who film themselves watching the show in bars, the aforementioned sea-faring bandits. Game of Thrones’ showrunners have the monumental task of making the show work for each of these subsets. This isn’t to say Benioff and Weiss completely disregard their fans – surely they want the show to be popular – in fact they clearly consider all of them. Hardcore fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire often complain of the show ‘dumbing down’ the plot of the books. It’s easy to see where this is true; storylines are cut (Aegon Targaryen) or streamlined (Dorne’s entire plot), characters are lost (Arienne Martell, Lady Stoneheart, Victarion Greyjoy) or combined (Sansa Stark and Jeyne Pool), and characters’ involvement diminishes (Doran Martell) or ends prematurely (also Doran Martell). While it’s impossible to state the true intention of the creative decisions in the show, many of these changes were likely due to the need to keep the show both engaging and well-paced for a majority of watchers. George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire is a saga so expansive it has its own published encyclopedia. We may frown at the loss of a cool speech or intrigue from the books; but how many fans would rather see Game of Thrones slow to a crawling pace trying to incorporate every aspect of George R. R. Martin’s epic? Instead it’s something more crisply paced, riveting, and ultimately simpler. It isn’t as if the show is without scenes and references pulled straight from the books: the fight between Oberyn Martell and the Mountain in Season 4 occurs exactly as it is written, ex-maester Qyburn’s speech to Grand Maester Pycelle before the latter’s death is word for the word the speech given by Varys to Kevan Lannister in A Dance with Dragons – among other, smaller examples. Regardless of whether fans agree with every decision, all the showrunners can be accused of is adapting a story for television, and making needed sacrifices along the way. Another factor in the evolving production of Game of Thrones is the fact that the show has long overtaken its source material. If Martin were to never finish ASOIAF, it would be the first major saga to begin in one medium and finish in another. Game of Thrones’ showrunners essentially have it in their power to dictate another man’s legacy. Does this, and should this, change the way the adaption is made? It depends who you ask.
Naturally, its makes little sense for the showrunners – who are making a TV show – to be held accountable to fans of the books. But it doesn’t mean they won’t be. Following the death of Shireen Baratheon in Season 5, David Benioff off handedly says, ‘When George first told us about [Shireen’s burning]…we were shocked’. No biggie, Martin has to tell the showrunners about book developments for the two series to essentially line up. But it was a biggie; it was a book spoiler. Five years have passed since Martin’s last book, and some fans lost it. Elio Garcia, owner of Westeros.org, who actually swore off Game of Thrones after Season 5, called Benioff ’s revelation ‘thoughtless’. Fans on the /r/asoiaf subreddit and Westeros.org forums called it ‘shitty’, ‘absolutely atrocious’ and ‘unprofessional’, with some denying the truth of it outright (‘What if this is exactly what GRRM planned all along?’ says one particularly far gone fan). So does Benioff have a duty to protect the sanctity of book spoilers? Yes, and no. Yes, because Game of Thrones is now part of the wider ASOIAF fandom, and no, because the showrunners are no one’s bitch (except maybe HBO’s). The show has already spoiled future book plot points, and I doubt Benioff ’s comment will hurt the sales of Martin’s next book. Still, many fans have dedicated twenty years to this story. All they want is new material from Martin, but it seems like they’ll have to make do with snippets from the producers. Game of Thrones’ production quality has certainly improved – and unsurprisingly so, with the show’s Season 6 budget reaching $10 million per episode, up from $6 million in Season 1. The Season 6 episode ‘The Battle of The Bastards’ – featuring a full scale pitched battle, a CGI-giant, and arse-tighteningly tense action – is undoubtedly a technical marvel, especially for a TV show. But while ‘The Battle of the Bastards’ was a good hour of television, was it really a good hour of Game of Thrones? As much as I personally enjoyed the episode, lingering questions remain. Why did none of the Northerners flinch at seeing their liege lord Ramsay literally murder an innocent child and Eddard Stark’s last remaining son? Why have Sansa warn Jon not to fall into any of Ramsay’s traps only to have Jon instantly fall into one of Ramsay’s traps? Why did the Knights of the Vale save the day at exactly the most dramatic moment? I’ve already stated that Game of Thrones must be entertaining for the vast majority of us, and that’s ok, but Game of Thrones reached its cultural status in part because of its realism, and subversion of classic tropes. Shock value moments in Game of Thrones are not new, but will the show’s lasting legacy be as positive if it’s most climactic moments prioritise spectacle over substance? If the remaining seasons become predictable, it won’t just be the book fans souring on the plot. Game of Thrones is rocketing towards its climactic finish with (sadly) only two seasons left. From relatively humble origins to a major cultural staple, it’s natural that more eyes watching means more criticism all round, and that its production will continually evolve in response (or otherwise). Issues aside, Game of Thrones is still one of the best and most consistently good TV shows around. It’s important to remember with any work, its creators are human, with their own interpretations and priorities, and that the act of simply not fucking it all up is admirable in its own right. If I was handed 100 million dollars a year to create a TV show, I think all I’d achieve is getting myself done for money laundering.
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Don’t paint yourself into a corner: making art pay the bills b y B r ittany We therspoon Illustration by Lily Greenwood
iving off your passion would be a dream come true for pretty much everyone. However, there are many pitfalls that can halt a budding creative entrepreneur in their tracks. Many of these things I have found are not discussed between us and our teachers, which will leave many students stranded in the deep end when their degree ends and they’re not prepared for the world outside of Uni. When I use the word ‘creatives’ in this article, I’m describing anyone with a passion within the creative industry. Whether that be musicians, visual artists, directors, writers and anything in between. If you enjoy using the right hemisphere of your brain, this article is for you. The creative industry, like most industries, requires hard work, dedication and desire to achieve and succeed. Most degrees teach the necessary skills for students to get by, but there is a hidden expectation that many do not realize until it is too late: that most of what you actually need to know you have to find out yourself. Too many creatives rush into creating content and neglect to sort out the business and planning side, only to run into issues later on down the track because they didn’t take the time out to sit down and do the research. So, through my own experience and research, I’ve created 5 key points that I wanted to share with others. These are things that people might not necessary think of at first, but can be a major thorn in your side.
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1) You need to have a clear idea of what you want to do. “But I just want to sell my art/music/work! Isn’t that clear enough?” No, it is not. When you want to sell yourself and your work to others, you need to be clear about what that work actually is. You want to sell your music? What is your style? What format do you want to sell your work in? ‘Art’ is hard in this sense as it is fluid, and can come in so many forms. However, the same questions do apply to all creative industries, such as what format will you put your work forward as? Where are you going to sell? It is important to take the time to map out all of your ideas first before moving on to anything else. Having your ideas out on a page, whether you have just one idea or 20, is so helpful in piecing together what you are about and vital in creating a plan or timeline for you to work by. 2) You gotta know about government support and funding I’ve put this point second because it is something most people overlook when starting a profit-based venture. In the end, ignoring the Australian Tax Office and Centrelink is one of the most commonly spoken grievances aired by creative business owners. For those who receive student support, always remember that Centrelink can be controlling. They have no issue with
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being invasive, and will always want to know when you are earning income. The ATO is similar in the latter point. Another issue that trips up some people is deciphering the fine line between a small business and a hobby. The simplest way to find out which one you are is to go onto the official ATO website and search: “Hobby or Business?” When I searched this, the first entry was a page that walked me through the process of figuring it out. But if you’d rather type down a URL, here it is: https://www.ato.gov.au/business/ starting-your-own-business/business-or-hobby-/ When it comes to the ATO, I can’t give more advice other than do your plan from Step 1, and then take this quiz. Whatever result the quiz fires back at you is the one that Centrelink will normally accept. If you are still confused, both the ATO and Centrelink are available to contact in person or via phone, a step I would highly recommend. Yes, establishing contact with these two services as a small business will mean you will have to stop creating content and work on paperwork regularly, but this is what running a functional business of any kind is all about! Rejoice as you leap into the exciting pool of the self-employed! 3) You have to know your basic business accounting- or know someone who does. Following on from the point before, one of the other most crucial things you need to know or have someone help you with is business documents. This goes without saying for any sort of profiting venture. What I mean when I say basic business is: profit and loss statements, business budgets and efficient recording keeping. Don’t be freaked out like I initially was! These documents are just records of all your income and receipts as well as all your expenditures and expenses that your business has incurred. When reporting to Centrelink and the ATO, all they need is your profit and loss statement for specific periods of time. In the case of the ATO, it may be for financial year end whereas Centrelink may require them fortnightly. Budgets are a great way to keep track of expenses, and for potential funding. Therefore, it’s highly recommended you get used to writing these. Budgets are the assumed future cost and expenses that you think may occur and they are good at showing you how your business is developing, or if you sell on commission based such as writing, it’s still good to see how much income you hope to be getting against your living costs. The best site I can lead you to in terms of this information would be www.business.vic.gov.au - this site lists all of these things, but in much more detail and is generally useful to have open close by.
I understand that there are some very shy people out there, and the very thought of having to put yourself out there and mingle with strangers can be daunting. However, the amount of opportunities that can open themselves up to you the moment you start networking is astonishing. You never know when the next person you meet will be inspired by your passion for your craft and work and offer you a new opportunity to grow. Half the people I have met that have helped me grow, have been found in most unlikely of places. One of the easiest places though I think is definitely in our university environment. We are really lucky to be here, and there are many opportunities to network and set ourselves up, you just need to be willing to look. Start with clubs! 5) Are you an artist or a brand? Finally, I want to talk about something that seems so fun and easy to do, but can in fact halt the process altogether: the name you work under. I had come up with this awesome design for a bag, and thought that if I made this, I would be able to make a lot of money. I had skipped the most important step (which I outlined in point 1) and was then stuck between creating a product-based business and working as an artist. Working as an artist, I would keep my name and promote everything I make as work handmade by me. But if I wanted to chase the dream of running a business as an owner (and maybe hiring people one day) it could be better to use a brand name, or to use my name as the brand. There are some cases where people have done this, and it has been super successful, but the only reason I struggled with this at first is because I didn’t do Step 1. I had so many ideas in my head. The moment you have a clear picture of all the things you want to do and be, whether that’s to be brand or just a self-employed artist, this last point will come along as easy as pie. So there it is, my 5 key points to being a self-employed creative that you may not have thought of. I hope this will save you time and help you in your endeavor in turning your passion into your life!
4) Networking! This is something I have to admit we did get told about, however I really have to bring it up. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!!!! You could be a writer looking for your next magazine to submit to, or an artist looking to exhibit or even a musician looking for your next venue; and the most common and successful way to find these opportunities is- you guessed it- through your contacts.
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Pink Flappy Bits by Emily Holding
abaret’s roots date back to the 1880s when bohemian poets, artists and composers would gather in French saloons to share creative ideas. It developed into a style of alcohol-infused risqué musical performance, notoriously characterised by improvisation, audience interactivity and small, intimate venues. In 2016 performers Tara Dowler and Louise Mapleston infuse cabaret, musical comedy and clowning in their two-woman act ‘Pink Flappy Bits’ that debuted at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) to sold out audiences throughout the season. How did ‘Pink Flappy Bits’ come to be? Tara: Lou and I met in a MUST cabaret show in 2014 and bonded over our love of music and theatre. We have diverse performance backgrounds that seemed to complement each other and we had both decided that we wanted to perform in the MICF. We sat down and asked ourselves how we could use each of our entertaining skills to create a piece that would be funny and entertaining, which is how we came to what ‘Pink Flappy Bits’ is at the moment: a musical-comedy feminist cabaret. At first we didn’t intend to carry on after the comedy festival but we had such an amazing response that encouraged us to see what else we would explore together. Cabaret is a particularly intimate genre of theatre, you’re in a small space and there’s not much dividing you and the audience. Did you find audiences at the MICF receptive or was it difficult to get break the ice and get people feeling comfortable? Lou: Our subject matter can be challenging to some people, but the feedback we got from a lot of audience members was that they found the show to be a very “approachable form of
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feminism”. My family actually didn’t want to see the show at first because they felt uncomfortable with the subject matter, and when my Mum eventually decided she wanted to see it she couldn’t get a ticket because there was so much interest! Tara: We try to create a safe and comfortable environment for people because of the nature of our show. We do present some soft-political ideas but I think it’s done in a fun and accessible way. It was interesting, though, to see some people’s reactions to certain euphemisms and the way we talk about our bodies. I think it’s demonstrative of how even in our ‘free and easy Aussie society’ there are still a lot of hang-ups about bodies and sexuality. It was amusing for us at times to see how people responded to these terms that we thought were pretty innocuous. Did you find it personally challenging to present these topics in such an intimate space? Lou: It wasn’t too much of an issue for me because I’d say that I’ve always been an activist. I’m studying social work and part of that is having a core belief in social justice and basically putting challenging ideas into social arenas. Tara: We had some very talented and experienced cabaret performers come to see our show which was a little bit challenging for me at first, particularly as we’re not strictly a cabaret show – I would probably classify us as more musical comedy. It is quite a unique challenge to be on stage every night not knowing how the audience is going to react, particularly during the audience-interactive moments. However, I feel like Lou and I have cultivated a sense of safety between us and Lou has had quite a lot of experience in improvisation so I feel pretty secure on stage with her.
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‘Pink Flappy Bits’ is an interesting title because often when we talk about genitals we like to use language that is as non-descriptive as possible, almost as if we can pretend we’re not talking about our actual physical body parts. What is the story behind the title? Tara: I came up with the title because I think our culture has a problem with infantilizing body parts, especially when we talk about reproductive organs or “rude areas” I think this can interfere with our development and the way we relate to our bodies…but I also thought it would be a funny joke to wear pink legionnaire hats and have a title that’s a euphemism for the vulva. What are your other favourite terms for your genitals? Lou: “Vagina” Tara: “Snatch” Lou: “Ham Wallet” Tara: Oh yeah, definitely “Ham Wallet” Your show has been described as a “feminist, musical-comedy cabaret with all the excitement of a year 8 sex-ed class”. If you could go back to your sex-ed class and impart some wisdom on your 14-year- old self, what would you say? Lou: I would emphasise that it’s okay to say ‘no’. The anatomical part of sex-ed is obviously important, but I wish there would be more emphasis on consent and knowing that people will still want to be with you if you say ‘no, I don’t feel like this right now’. Tara: I would impart that whatever is going on with your body is okay and has probably happened to someone else. You don’t need to carry shame about your body and whatever you experience within it. Female nudity in art is a hot topic for feminism at the moment because it seems that some critics find it contradictory when feminist voices like Lena Dunham in ‘Girls’ and Caitlin Stasey say they don’t want to be objectified or defined by their physical appearance, but at the same time really put an emphasis on the naked female body in their art. Tell us about your decision to wear vulvas on your chests every night and what you think about the naked body in feminist art? Tara: I think it comes down to not trying to speak for other women. If someone feels empowered by publishing images of their body and saying this is me owning my sexuality or expressing my artistic and creative self, I would be very reluctant to tell them that that is an improper way to express their feminism. I don’t think Lou and I are trail-blazers by any means but I think that continuing to demystify bodies, in our own little way, is really important. Lou: Tara and I are both very conscious of our privilege in the sense that we’re both white women, neither of us are obese and there’s nothing about our bodies that would be considered particularly abnormal or grotesque. However, we do still challenge perceptions of beauty on a micro-level by showing two very different bodies that have achieved lots of things and are
very intelligent - but are not athletic bodies or the size 6 type of bodies we usually see unclothed in art. You have a song called “White Feminism”, can you tell me what that song is about and how you view your role as white women in the feminist movement? Lou: Our show is so white feminism. It’s an entry point for people who may not have thought about these topics too deeply in the past and we create a very accessible, non-threatening place to start. We are aware that as two white women, with bodies that are pretty stock standard, we are able to be on stage and present these ideas without receiving as much flack as a person of colour likely would. A lot of people will ask us even before they’ve seen the show if we are trans-friendly or queer-friendly, so we have this song which is very much a tongue-in- cheek way of acknowledging that we are white, middle-class, heterosexual, cisgendered women sharing our experiences and we can’t (and won’t try to) speak for anyone else. Tara: We use the term ‘white feminism’ a lot, which we know has a lot of negative connotations. We’re nottrying to show pride in that label but rather to situate ourselves in the discourse of our art form and be upfront about the fact that we are only speaking from own experiences and a place of some privilege. I think it’s important in comedy to be able to say that you are speaking only for yourself and that you are open to whatever criticism may follow that. Do you think comedy is still a male dominated scene? Lou: I absolutely think it’s a male dominated scene.However, I think that there’s a difference between the stand-up world and the cabaret world. The stand-up world is 100% male dominated but in our work in cabaret we’ve come across a lot of great, successful women - particularly in the online comedy spaces and communities we choose surround ourselves with. Are there any women in comedy that you particularly look up to? Tara: Absolutely! We both really look up to Jude Perl. Lou: Yeaaaaah! Jude Perl! Tara: And Laura Davis, another fantastic and intelligent voice we saw at the comedy festival this year… Lou: And Tessa Waters, a Melbourne based clown. And Liz Skitch! See ‘Pink Flappy Bits’ Live: Miss K is Wrong.com - The Album Launch 27th August, 7:30pm St Kilda Army & Navy Club (upstairs) 88 Acland Street St Kilda Tickets: trybooking.com Pink Flappy Bits Fringe Show 19th of September (Media and Industry Night) 27th, 28th and 29th of September, 1st and 2nd of October, 10pm The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne Tickets: thebutterflyclub.com Find Tara and Lou online at ‘Pink Flappy Bits’ on Facebook or @Pinkflappybits on Twitter.
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wikiHow to catch them all b y R a chael Wellin g Illustration by B r ittany We therspoon
elcome, trainers. While I am not some flora based professor, I am here to guide you down the path of the true PokémonGo master. Many have come before you, and many will come after (subject to server capacity). You all think you know the basics: seek out lures, catch ‘em all, wantonly waste Pokeballs and Razzberries and incubators for your own personal glory. And in the end nothing to show for it but a Pokédex filled with all 142 Pokémon, one that cannot be shared or even traded. That is not the true way. Following this doctrine guide, you too can be the very best. We all can. Intuition, Observation, Strength. Glory awaits, trainers. 1. Your team is your identity, your struggle, your legacy Once a trainer has completed initiation and reached Level 5, they select for themselves a team: Instinct, Mystic, or Valor. This decision is the trainer’s alone, not to be influenced by petty lobbyists or promises of free food from capitalist Pancake Parlours. This decision also reflects the trainer’s true inner principles. There is no shelter from the storm for Team Instinct, Victory is temporary, glory is eternal for Team Valor, and DABIRDINDANORF, for Team Mystic. The infinite wisdom contained in these mottos is for the trainer to unravel in their journeys. It does not matter which team has a smaller or larger following, but the essence of the motto that matters. Ultimately the choice is not important, and only the weakest trainers succumb to justifying their allegiance. What is paramount, trainers, is unwavering loyalty, dedication, and no less than two permanent tattoos of the chosen team’s logo. 2. A trainer alone is a trainer without meaning, or purpose Once a team is chosen, the trainer continues to evolve and collect their Pokémon until they are able to claim gyms for their team through glorious battle. The mechanics of war are simple: good trainers know their Pokémon type advantages, and are proficient in spamming attacks and occasionally dodging at the actual correct moment for once. As we know, the goal of every Pokémon battle is victory. But for the team to achieve victory, all trainers, irrespective of level, must be united. A single Vaporeon cannot stand forever against an army of Arcanines, and so it is the duty of the trainers to battle their own gyms, bring more trainers into the fold and multiply their strength. And regardless of affiliation we all share a common enemy: the other teams.
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Do not hesitate, trainers, when a rival team claims from you a gym. Defeat them swiftly in battle, or through other, real life, punching-based means. 3. Pokéstops are abundant, but their improper use nullifies their advantage The All-giver, Niantic Inc, has seen fit to bless the trainers with abundant Pokéstops and micro-transactions. Our teams now need Poké Balls, Razzberries, Eggs and Potions, like the air they breathe, like the instant noodles they eat. But it is not enough to simply horde resources. Poké Balls must be thrown with grace, and the appropriate amount of spin. Eggs should not sit idle in inventory of trainers who forget to keep PokémonGo open to track their steps, and fail to invest their income in battery packs. Greatballs should not be wasted on Pokémon with CP less than 200. Stardust and candy, resources that cannot be bought or spun at Pokestops, should be treated as the trainer’s own lifeblood. Waste them not on low CP Pokemon. Instead, combine the XP doubling power of the Lucky Egg with the act of mass evolving all of your Pokémon. 4. It is braver to retreat than to advance Trainers, sometimes even the very best cannot win. Sometimes Team Instinct is simply outnumbered. Sometimes Team Valor cannot rely on strength alone. Sometimes Team Mystic can’t do, whatever it is they do. Gym leaders come and go, but only the team remains, and the team is immortal. And so to preserve your team, trainers must know when to stop battling that gym, when to give your hard-working Pokémon a much needed rest and a heavy dose of super potions, and when to tactfully return in the middle of the night to claim the gym without resistance. Savvy trainers know that frequent resets are needed to maximize play time. Savvy trainers know the only way to resolve server issues is to check back every five minutes while mass messaging their friends, ‘servers are down, fuck my whole entire life’. And real trainers know, that the only way to find eternal glory, is to put away your Poké Balls, delete PokémonGo, and retire while you can still call yourself a Pokémon master. So now, trainers, that you know the true way of the PokémonGO master, you can travel across the land, search far and wide, and fight tooth and nail for the glory of your Pokémon.
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Goldstone by Nick Bugeja
he sequel to director Ivan Sen’s 2013 film, Mystery Road, Goldstone takes with it the quiet strength of the original, while clearly taking new paths in terms of narrative and its depiction of Australian culture. We are immediately confronted by a dishevelled Detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen), who has found himself in the town of Goldstone, on the lookout for a missing Chinese teenager. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the search for the missing girl unearths a whole spate of greed and corruption among the town’s mayoral office and a moneyed up mining company. Swan and his conflicted ally, local cop Josh (Alex Russell), are the only ones capable of restoring order to a fractured Goldstone. Sen, who acts as the screenwriter, composer, cinematographer and director of the film, really knows how to get the most out of what is a pretty standard tale of high-end human-trafficking, indifference and criminality. The adaption of this familiar narrative is inherently elevated due to its observance of Australian hallmarks: the picturesque desolation of the outback, racial division and unresolved conflicts. As a result, the screenplay really packs a punch where it perhaps would not have. It becomes something identifiable, particularly to an Australian audience, as we can acknowledge White Australia’s exploitation and utter disregard for racial minorities. Sen is perceptive to this, and aptly reminds us there is still a lot to do in the way of harmonising Australian culture. ¬ Even though Goldstone focuses on the sexual exploitation of young Asian women, its layering of social issues is quite powerful. Its exploration of Australia’s enduring mistreatment of the First Australians is seamlessly woven into the overall narrative, as Goldstone’s Mayor, Maureen (Jacki Weaver), is interested only in acquiring their land for mining purposes. There is not a shred of respect shown to the First Australians by Maureen, or the mining industry, as represented by Johnny (David Wenham). Sen’s most provocative assault on racial subjugation comes in the form of a scene featuring Indigenous man Jimmy (David Gulpilil). The scene is uncompromising, and designed to make us as angry as Sen at the bygone and current treatment of the First Australians. Furthermore, the many close-ups of Swan’s face display a man tired of his demanding work and his subjection to a netherworld of racial oblivion. What the film toweringly succeeds in is making a connection between oppression and prospective economic gain. Josh is bribed early on by Johnny to ensure that he does not interfere with mining operations, and the human-trafficking of the Asian girls is solely motivated by money. Weaver is wonderful as the duplicitous Maureen; balancing her character’s sinister nature
with a maternalistic façade to will Goldstone’s residents into thinking she is a harmless grandmother. Sen obviously refutes this, asserting that economic interests can quash our own sense of humanity. This thematic concern could not be more timely, as mining operations have been further dispossessing the First Australian’s of even more land. Alex Russell’s performance as Josh is a hit and miss. Russell’s attempt to play up Josh’s ignorance of Goldstone’s corruption can feel inauthentic, and he clearly comes out second best in his exchanges with Aaron Pedersen’s Swan. Once Josh wises up to the evils being perpetrated, Russell’s performance is a lot more effective. Pedersen carries on his great work from Mystery Road and his acting presence dominates every scene. This is notable, as Pedersen does not have the kind of screen time as he did in Goldstone’s predecessor. Wenham and Gupilil, who are both Australian cinematic mainstays, deliver performances that maintain the film’s core intensity. Sen’s cinematography is again informed by the Australian landscape. Rather than go to great pains to manufacture individual shots, there is an artistic ease with which Sen chooses to capture the Queensland small-town. His use of the long shot is certainly a highlight, as it further adds to the visual style established early on in the film. The likewise plethora of overhead shots of diverging roads is striking, evoking in them a sense of George Miller’s Mad Max (1979). In keeping with the noir style that Sen develops, there is a predominant focus on dialogue and the establishment of character and themes in the first two acts. The tension and moral outrage Sen intends us to feel is rife by the film’s climax, which erupts on an explosive scale. We are right behind the protagonists, and the hostile engagement that unfolds is produced with great effect. The violence, of which there is a considerable amount, is rather cathartic. Sen’s second effort on Jay Swan’s story is compelling, as he takes with him the good bits and discards the bad ones from Mystery Road. This film is probably the closest thing we have, as Australians, to Polanski’s seminal 1974 film Chinatown, and it is about time we pay attention to the merit of Australian cinema. Playing in Selected Cinemas.
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Feeling the eﬀects of class: inequality in a two-tiered education system by Sophia McNamara
ear your uniform with pride,” they would always say. Private schools exist to perpetuate divisions of class, and my final high school year made me realise this. They gladly fill the expectations placed upon them by the parents, who pay good money to show that their child is a class above the majority. I grew up in New Zealand and went to a public school for the first 12 years of school. In my final year I moved to a private boarding school. Elitism and snobbery aside, it was remarkable. The teachers were much more helpful, the study conditions were ideal, and every talent and interest I could possibly have was nurtured. My academic performance improved immensely, just in time for university applications. My mum, as a single mother of two with no university qualifications, had to work extremely hard just to send me there for a year. As grateful as I was, I couldn’t help but feel immense guilt. If my academic results were so dependent on going to a private school, how was this fair on the majority of students who did not? When I entered the University of Auckland law school the year after, I was comforted by the fact that only a handful of students were from private schools, proving that the more traditionally academic professions were mostly universally accessible. In my second year of university however, I moved to Melbourne to go to Monash law school and to my surprise, almost every single student I met was from a private or selective school. Two years later since my first day at Monash, I’ve only met one other law student from a non-selective public school. Was it not possible to get a high ATAR at a public school? Why did I not see this as much in New Zealand? What about those hard working and talented students who come from public schools, why are they so underrepresented? It seemed that private school students were competing with an advantage so great that public school kids were almost locked out from getting the top grades. Australia likes to think of itself as a merit-based society, a land of the fair go -where the school systems guarantee that all children, no matter their origins, can access a quality publicly funded education that will give children an equal chance at success in life. If this is really true, if we truly live in a merit-based society, why are about 35% of secondary school parents in Australia sacrificing tens of thousands of dollars each year to make sure their children don’t go through our publicly funded education system? If we are proud of this country and its equality, why do we clearly have such little faith in the public
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education system that we’ll spend thousands just to avoid it? We’re in a two-tiered system, where private school kids compete mostly in a league of their own. It begs the question: is a class system really just a relic of the 19th century, or does it still exist in modern Australia? Australia has one of the highest levels of private schools in the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) countries and is at the bottom end in terms of equality and education outcomes. The reality is that it’s not a merit-based, land of the fair go at all, and rather is inherently unequal and socially stratified, even more so than other developed countries like New Zealand, Canada or the United Kingdom. I noticed the divide much more over here due to the difference between 4% of Kiwi students going to private schools and 35% in Australia. The high number of private schools here are the result of such a high demand, caused by parents losing faith in the public system to such an extent that they’ll spend what they can’t afford. If the Australian economy is dependent on workforce participation and productivity, why is education a prime target of budget cuts, time and time again? The public system clearly isn’t disregarded in New Zealand to the same extent it is here. Selective schools don’t exist there, meaning about 96% of the students go to a public, non-selective school, making it much easier for them to compete when they are on a mostly-level playing field and only such a small minority have the advantage of a private school. But the inequality doesn’t stop there. While private schools discriminate based on income and wealth, selective schools discriminate on academic talents and public schools discriminate on geographical location, meaning those located in higher income areas attract better-off students. So either way, students of similar socioeconomic class will be placed together, and social segregation of our school students will continue to widen. The one friend I do have in law school from a public school went to Melbourne Girls’ College, in the wealthy inner-city suburb of Richmond, with a reputation of being one Melbourne’s best public schools. “I really think there’s not enough public school kids doing law”, she said. The “good” public schools in Auckland were all in the inner city. The best ones, arguably, are Epsom Girls’ Grammar and Auckland Grammar in the expensive suburb of Epsom. The two single-sex schools are situated right next to each other and they raise the house prices significantly in the zones around them more and more each year. Houses for sale in the area would
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have “Double Grammar Zone” plastered all over them. A 2015 suburb report shows that the average house in Epsom has 3 bedrooms and is worth $1.3 million. Strict school zoning and house prices like that make the “good” public schools arguably just as exclusive as private schools. An increasingly lucrative market for tutoring that targets parents of already advantaged private school kids, further exemplifies socio-economic segregation between schools. Costing upwards of $50 an hour, a student’s access to tutoring is entirely contingent on a parent’s capacity to spend, and gives students a significant competitive advantage in exams. Students in a non-conducive environment with limited ability to spend simply cannot compete to the same extent. The 2015 New Estimates of Intergenerational Mobility report commissioned by the NSW Department of Education found that social mobility is far more restricted in Australia than previously thought, with family background and earnings playing a much more significant role on a student’s outcomes compared with individual ability, talent and hard work. How is it fair that your postcode defines your opportunities, and your parent’s income dictates your success in life? The private/public school divide in Melbourne made it clear to me that the school you went to is so much more than where you went to learn; it is a symbol of class. Some may believe a class system no longer exists, but looking at statistics and the people I’ve met studying law and medicine, I have many reasons to believe that this isn’t true. As cheap credit becomes easily accessible, class statuses are not as visible as they used to be. Or perhaps we try and ignore it as best as we can in our own worlds rather than facing such an ugly truth. I see the biggest problem as public ignorance. After all, we are the population that just voted a conservative government in for a second time. Christopher Pyne, when he was Education Minister, specifically said that him and his government had an “emotional commitment” to private schools. With the massive cuts to education that just came from the 2016 Turnbull government budget, people are simply losing more faith in public education, and a parent’s capacity to spend on their child’s education is more important than ever. Turnbull has already expressed interest in deregulating university fees, giving universities the ability to multiply the amount they charge - hence the “no $100,000 degrees” campaign. While the possibility of this is still uncertain, especially due to the Coalition making up a smaller-than-expected proportion in Parliament, partial deregulation for certain courses is already underway. Turnbull has said it will “allow universities to concentrate on the things they can do best”, however, this would clearly further limit low socio-economic status (SES) students from accessing quality education. For someone like myself who is ineligible for HECS debt, increased university fees would simply mean that I wouldn’t be able to afford to study in Australia anymore. But even for those who are eligible for the loan, a financial burden of that size is simply unthinkable for low SES students. As young people, there’s little we can do about this alarming inequity. However, being aware of this sharp divide in privilege and making informed choices about the federal election
Good students are the product of good teachers, but the allure of a bigger salary package at a private school often wins out. is a good place to start. The difference of educational equity between Australia and New Zealand, as well as many other developed countries, shows that successful education reform is possible. Good students are the product of good teachers, but the allure of a bigger salary package at a private school often wins out. As private schools appear over-funded relative to the funding public schools receive, most of the change needs to occur at a state level. But here on the ground we need to make parents want to send their kids through the public system like they do in New Zealand. We need to put our faith back into public schools, encourage tertiary students to pursue education and respect our hard-working teachers in public schools who haven’t already been lured away. I may not have noticed the disparity of Melbourne’s notorious private school culture if I didn’t move here from another country. What it did teach me however, is to have a hell of a lot of respect for the students in medicine, law and similarly competitive courses who may be from under-funded public schools, from low-income suburbs or from under-resourced rural areas. Coming so far with all the odds stacked against them shows that their achievements are truly phenomenal.
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Illustration by Angus Marian
CR E ATI V E
Voiceless by Manon Boutin Charles
had always lived in Paris. 8, rue des Wallons. For as long as I can remember. I had never seen anything else: I had never travelled before last year. That’s why when I had the opportunity to study abroad, I chose to apply far away. Really far. The other side of the world...Australia. When I was a child someone told me people there were upside down, and that they would celebrate Christmas in shorts. It might seem stupid, but I thought the distance would help me find myself. Wherever I was. Maybe it was there. I wanted to try everything. Start a new life. I was in the “Great Unknown” all my favourite adventures books were describing, experiencing a feeling I’d been reading and dreaming about since I was a child. A new culture, a new life, a new language ; that’s what I was about to see. That language part was the most appealing, yet the most frightening. Of course I knew English, but I didn’t feel comfortable with it at all. I am a writer; I love puns, poems and play on words in French. What would happen with a new code I did not have mastery of at all? I had no idea how difficult it would be to deal with that new language, and that was the greatest part of the adventure. I felt lost in new linguistic difficulties, drowning in a world where I suddenly became voiceless.
perhaps that’s why it did not work. Maybe I loved too much. Maybe I was oppressive? I tried hard to put the fault on myself so I don’t feel hate, but it felt wrong: who chased the other? not me! It was not my fault. I couldn’t imagine someone chasing me and then changing their mind. It was unbelievable. It sounds stupid. Useless. “A total waste of time.” I remember the first day we’ve met. I’d just arrived in that new country, and felt like discovering Melbourne’s cold nightlife. To discover a people, a culture... Everything was so different from Paris. My wandering drove me to a pub. A band was playing, people were drinking and dancing, but I don’t really remember any visual details. All I could focus on was a voice. The voice. It wrapped me in a feeling I’d never known before. A weird warmth; powerful, smooth but tough at the same time. It was like the voice wanted to say something. It could reach notes I’ve never heard before. It was calling me. Asking me to join, to stay with it forever. It said it would be there for me anytime. It said it would never leave me. I remember that voice. I’ve never been able to detach from it since then. It was like it was part of me now, it penetrated me, it cast a spell on me, maybe. I entered that pub, without the faintest idea how much my life would change from that moment. Without the faintest idea how that voice would never leave.
Quarter past eleven. I’ve overslept, again. I’ve been here for a year, but lately I have felt constantly jet-lagged, trying to keep in touch with France by staying up late. I’ve missed it. I’ve missed my language. I dream in English now. I have even started using Australian slang. It all makes me sick. Another quick glance at my phone screen tells me I have no new messages or calls. I go from disappointment, to sadness, then to mingled anger and disgust. I try to tell myself I am worth more than that. I try to believe that I am not the one who was losing something, that I am not the one who is going to regret something. But if I am perfectly honest, I feel like I am experiencing a forced weaning. It is emotionally hard, but also physically. I can’t handle the loss any longer. I need to hear that voice again. I’ve always been passionate: maybe that’s my fault actually,
Still no new text message, and it was pretty late. I found myself wondering what I did wrong to deserve that. All the people I love always end up leaving me at some point. Watching my phone screen with empty eyes, re-reading our conversations, memories of a relationship that started well. Finding this message from a few months ago: « I can’t control it. I want to talk to you forever. I feel guilty for giving you all of my attention right now when I have so much work to do... but I just can’t stop myself. I want to talk to you, I really like it, I really like you. It’s hard to explain because it’s hard to understand. I don’t want to do anything else. » At the time, I found it eerily cute. Today, I read it as a wake up call, a warning. It was too intense, too dangerous. Now I
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CR E ATI V E
understand what that means, and that’s not because I speak English better. It was not a declaration of love. It was grievances. It was complaints. It was the expression of a fear I couldn’t understand in time. I hadn’t taken it into account. Maybe that’s why it didn’t end well. We’ll never know. Since I had to, I went to bed, thinking about all the things I might have misunderstood since I’ve been living in that strange land. I speak English, but I feel like there is a language I don’t speak. I can’t understand feelings. I can’t express them anymore. They’re different over here. When I finally understood the real language barrier, I felt like someone just had just stolen my right to speak. One does not simply translate a feeling. Even though I was trying to scream my feelings out loud, my voice just couldn’t reflect them. And even if it had, they couldn’t have reached anyone. I was voiceless. Everything reminds me of that story, and I wonder if I’m obsessed yet. I remember we use to talk about words a lot, about how they could make us closer or drive us away. Our scales were so different, we used to have fun comparing them. Then we’d laugh. “Have you ever noticed how when you repeat a word over and over, it becomes funny, and makes no sense anymore?” Maybe those were the words I loved. They sounded better when pronounced by that voice. I’ve always thought I was talkative, but it’s usually small talk, like I have nothing interesting to say. Like I couldn’t express the things I had to say. I think we both felt that way. I could have chosen music, like you did, but I chose to write. I could have written songs instead. I still hear that voice telling me they were hiding “more secrets about me than I could ever tell you.” I loved that idea, and I studied each song just like I used to study literature, phrase by phrase, word by word, searching for a hidden meaning in every voice variation, in any string vibration. I thought we were able to communicate, but our linguistic repertoires never tuned. After one or two misunderstandings, a false note, a wrong word, everything stopped. Words hurt, they’re dangerous, and maybe they shouldn’t be carelessly touched, especially by my inexpert hands. I yelled for the last time, trying to express a feeling that didn’t exist in that country, and that’s how we split, mutually misunderstood, maybe forever. * Yesterday, for my last night here in Australia, I decided to go back to that pub, and some weird coincidence decided that the voice was there again. I didn’t plan it, but I thought perhaps it was meaningful to hear it one last time, where we met a year ago. It was like a loop, or the end point of a great adventure. I don’t know if I wanted to live something more, to try once more, I just wanted to hear it again. I wanted to write the end of the story. And while the gig started, I remembered. I remembered our laughs, I remembered our fights. I remembered our words, I remembered our fears. Nights spent talking about the differences between our lifestyles, and between our countries. Or the ones spent singing, listening to that voice, listening to that guitar. I remembered the songs, their lyrics resonating in me like
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they were saying out loud what I’d spent my whole life secretly thinking. That song especially, expressing that fear, that feeling to be in front of the unknown, to be a whole person. About this relationship that nobody knows how long would last. “I don’t know, a second? Or a billion million years? In the grand scheme of things, hell, I don’t have a clue. But I’m certain that this fraction, now, is really all we have, I’m just happy to be in this time with you”. And eventually, I understood. I knew the song by heart, but I had to wait for that day to finally get what it meant. I left before the show ended. I didn’t need to be here anymore. I enjoy thinking about us: how we could have spent our lives together, talking another language we’d have created, playing with our differences. But we couldn’t. We didn’t end up together. There were no emotional reunion, no heart-rending cry at the airport, no kiss under the tropical rains of the Southern Hemisphere. No voice begged me to stay. Nobody tried to block my way to the gate. I entered my plane like nothing was holding me in that country... nothing did. The link’s broken, and all that remains from this voice are the few CDs I kept. I can hear it, but I’m not sure my own voice will ever reach anything down there. Maybe it will send a scrambled, indecipherable message, in an unknown language, through these words or others, yet unknown. * I discovered, travelling, that we don’t just learn a new language; we create it. I’ll never speak English; I’ll master its sounds, its words, its grammatical rules as much as I can, but I’ll use them all to speak my own language, a new one that comes from my experiences, and that’s spoken by nobody else. Maybe we don’t need the others to build ourselves: we just need a voice, resonating in ourselves forever. The ones from those songs which, I hope, will keep inspiring me for many years. I may have not found my way at the other side of the world, but I found that voice, and that’s more than enough.
F I C TI ON
Somewhere in Australia by Ina Lee
laire was bad at maths, Iffah at science and Kevin at social interactions. But none of that mattered, because together they were the ultimate team for the job. Tasked with saving the world from an impending alien attack, the trio sat in the abandoned Hargrave-Andrew library of Monash University, devising their next move. The Earth had acted quickly in the face of its approaching doom. The alien ship appeared in the sky at 5:32pm Eastern standard time on Sunday the 26th of March and by Monday the 27th of August the following year, the world’s leaders had finally reached the consensus that they should probably do something. An eviction notice of sorts had already been sent via transmission from the alien ship. And while no one could translate the message, the mixture of aggressive static and grunts heard, were enough to finally convince the suit-wearers of the world that the situation was serious. After rigorous standardised testing, three individuals worldwide were selected to save the human race. Coincidentally, all three happened to be Australian students enrolled at Monash University. The Clayton campus was shut indefinitely for the duration of the alien threats and the team was allowed to freely roam the campus, with unlimited access to all university resources. The world was watching, anxiously waiting for these bright young kids to save the world, or for the aliens to finally invade. The former was preferred. Every five minutes Claire tapped at the keys on her Macbook, informing the world via twitter of their progress and her obsession with teacup Pomeranians. So far there hadn’t been much to report, but they were trending at number one with the hashtag #somewhereinaustralia, so that was progress. Sitting across from Claire was Iffah, the smart one of the group. Iffah clicked out of the page she had just been reading and reached for the “physics for dummies” textbook on the table in front of her. So far all she’d found were numerous articles referencing Star Trek, Doctor Who and Stargate. She was starting to question the legitimacy of her resources, but the educational programmed Farscape seemed reliable, at least it wasn’t vaguely familiar like the others. She was going to follow up on it. Kevin, sat on the front half of his seat next to Iffah, hunched over a small workbook, scribbling random equations and doodles (the penis kind). He’d been at it for the past 5 hours, over which he’d had to switch writing hands seven times. He couldn’t write with his left, but his hand writing hadn’t been the best before, so illegible was a slight improvement.
“I’ve got it!” announced Kevin, rising from his chair so quickly the table wobbled and his chair fell back crushing a cockroach to death. “I’ve got it! I’ve found a way to humanly get rid of the aliens!” Kevin’s face had never been so red and he no longer had full control of his hand gestures, yet he continued. “All we have to do is reverse the polarity and crank up the volume of every wind turbine in the world.” His arms flapped about here and there, making grand gestures at the wrong intervals. “Then, we turn on all the heaters we have and set fire to the forests. The aliens will see the planet as being too hot and leave us alone”. Kevin picked up his chair and sat back down, exhausted from both the physical and emotional strength it took for him to stand up and deliver his speech. Claire liked the idea and sent out a tweet. Iffah on the other hand wasn’t too keen on the plan. ‘What if the aliens are unaffected by increased temperatures or they prefer warmer environments?” She asked and with that the team was back to square one. Kevin started to cry and Claire announced a team break. The big idea came during the team break. Kevin was in the bathroom and had been for the past 30 minutes, Iffah was eating a banana and Claire was on YouTube. Claire was trying to find something to watch, something that didn’t involve aliens, when she came across ‘THE BEST OF FRIENDS – SEASON 1’. Claire had been a big Friends fan when she was 13 and to watch it again brought back so many memories, mainly of going through puberty and failing year 7 English, but also all the good stuff. And then the idea came. “Guys! Guys! I have an idea!” Kevin rushed out of the bathroom and Iffah swallowed her banana whole. “What is it?” They collectively asked. And so Claire explained her idea, the group agreed and put it into action straight away. The team compiled a collection of Friends episodes, deemed to be the best, and then transmitted them up to the alien ship. The response wasn’t immediate, the aliens had to first watch the 960 hours’ worth of video and then process the information. But eventually the desired outcome transpired. Through watching their social interactions and how they cared for each other, the aliens gained an appreciation for the human race and decided not to invade. The alien ship left in search of another planet, one a little less occupied, and the trio were celebrated as heroes and the world got back to normal.
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I’ll keep you wild by Ed Jessop
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Illustration by Olivia Walmsley
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by Emily Dang
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